Storm claim victory in match of the year
7 hours ago | Robert Crosby
Titans look to end twelve months of pain.
The Gold Coast Titans will be out to record their first win in a year when they take on the Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium.
364 days after upsetting Brisbane in a deserved 26-18 victory over the Queen's Birthday long weekend, the Gold Coast Titans will be desperate to break a run of 14 straight losses that has seen the side part ways with two coaches and concede 482 points for an average loss of 34-11.
Keeping pace in Townsville for 50 minutes before a second half collapse saw the side humbled 36-6 by the Cowboys last Friday, new coach Justin Holbrook will need to content with a poor record at Suncorp Stadium that has seen the side emerge with two premiership points just six times over 14 seasons in the NRL.
Holding a rare positive record over the Tigers with five wins from their past eight meetings dating back to 2015, the former St Helen's mentor has once again swung the selection axe with Tyrone Roberts, Tanah Boyd, Bryce Cartwright and former Melbourne utility Young Tonumaipea all coming into squad.
Fighting back from a halftime deficit to down the Sharks 28-16 last Saturday, the Wests Tigers will be aiming to record three wins from their first four matches for just the fourth time in history.
Getting out to a 10-0 lead in even time before securing the victory with three second half tries last week, Tigers coach Michael Maguire will be hoping his side's good recent fortune at Suncorp Stadium continues following wins over Brisbane and Penrith (in Magic Round) last season.
Fielding the same squad that triumphed over Cronulla at Bankwest Stadium, former Melbourne duo Harry Grant and Billy Walters have been retained as the preferred hooker rotation with former New South Wales representative Josh Reynolds relegated to the extended bench.
Last meeting: Round 7 2019 - Wests Tigers 30 Titans 14
Who to watch: Playing his first game in almost a year against North Queensland after recovering from a succession of concussions, second rower Keegan Hipgrave will have his sights set on making up for lost time. Gaining a reputation as a firebrand since debuting in the final round three years ago, the 23-year-old Queenslander produced a promising return last Friday with close to 100 metres and 40 tackles in only the second 80 minute performance of his career. Off-contract at the end of the season, look for Hipgrave to tear into the Tigers in an effort to shore up his NRL future.
Handed a chance to play in the number one jersey after starting his career at the joint venture in the centres, Lebanese international Adam Doueihi will be eager to showcase the skills that saw him in demand over the off-season. Opting to move on from South Sydney after the arrival of Latrell Mitchell blocked his path to playing regular first grade, the 21-year-old has been strong in the backline averaging over 100 metres and five tackle breaks per game. Earmarked as the man to take over the hallowed five-eighth role when Benji Marshall hangs up the boots, look for Doueihi to make use of his playmaking skills as the season progresses.
The favourite: Guided by evergreen playmaker Benji Marshall and a pack of unfashionable toilers, the Tigers are expected to get the better of the home side.
My tip: Having made a habit out of finishing in ninth position, the Tigers should win handsomely if they have any ambitions of playing finals football for the first time since 2011. Wests Tigers by 18.
5. Phillip Sami 2. Brian Kelly 3. Dale Copley 17. Young Tonumaipea 20. Anthony Don 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 16. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow 4. Tyrone Peachey 12. Keegan Hipgrave 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jaimin Jolliffe
1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal 14. Oliver Clark 15. Billy Walters 16. Chris Lawrence 17. Alex Seyfarth
Referees: Adam Gee; Sideline Officials: Jon Stone, Kasey Badger; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;