Monday's Expert - 2020 NRL Round 13
11 hours ago | Monday's
Battling Titans look to bounce back against resurgent Warriors
The Titans were brought back to earth last week, experiencing a heavy 30-point defeat against a strong Sharks side. They looked to be keeping pace with the Shire boys, the score-line being 12-10 at half time before running out of gas and conceding 28 unanswered points in the second 40 minutes and succumbing to their 6th loss of the season.
The Warriors became the latest team to sink the boot in the lowly Broncos, coming back from being 16-12 down with just over 10 minutes remaining to come away with a convincing 26-16 win. It was the match everyone had their eyes on for all the wrong reasons, and the Warriors were able to get the job done in front of a small but vocal crowd and give some extra motivation to players who have been doing it tough while being away from their families for an extended period.
The Titans have reshuffled their backline for what feels like the 8th time in 8 weeks. New recruit Corey Thompson returns to fullback after spending time on the wing last start, pushing Tyrone Roberts out of the 17. Youngster Treymain Spry will make his NRL debut on the wing, while rookie Beau Fermor moves to the centres, pushing Tyrone Peachey to the bench. Erin Clark comes into hooker in a straight swap for the injured Mitch Rein, and Sam Stone comes into the back row. Jarrod Wallace has been recalled via the interchange.
The Warriors regain their captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who returns from a one-week suspension. His inclusion pushes Peta Hiku back to the centres and Gerard Beale out of the side. Chanel Harris-Tavita replaces Kodi Nikorima, who is out after suffering a head knock against the Broncos. Jazz Tevaga will make his long-awaited return via the bench.
In a year that they were already up against it to challenge for a finals berth, the Titans have been dealt some cruel blows with injury, particularly in the outside backs with Phillip Sami, Young Tonumaipea, Jonus Pearson and AJ Brimson all unavailable for a long period. Come Friday they'll also be without the experience of Ryan James and Kevin Proctor, adding to the challenge of winning the match. They've shown character lacked by recent Gold Coast outfits at times in 2020, so it will be interesting to see which Titans side shows up on Friday.
Last meeting: Round 14 2019 - Titans 20 Warriors 24
Who to watch: Titans half Ash Taylor has been subjected to much criticism throughout his career and has been rocks and diamonds again in 2020, however he has shown glimpses of the form that got him the big money deal a few years ago. He seems to have benefited from the move to five-eighth and new partner Jamal Fogarty has been a good fit. When Taylor is on form, he's one of the best halves in the comp, however those times have been few and far between over the last couple of seasons. He will be critical to whether or not his team can get win number 3 of the season.
The obvious choice for the Warriors is returning captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Pre-season Tuivasa-Sheck was talked up as having a more ball playing role for the kiwi side and not being as much of a "metre eater," however currently he is in the top 10 for run metres and doesn't have a single try assist to his name. He hasn't been poor by any stretch, however he does have improvement in him and this week, like every other week, is absolutely critical to if his side wins or loses.
The favourite: The odds are dead even for this clash between the teams placed 12th and 15th on the table.
My tip: Both teams have forged a reputation for being inconsistent at the best of times not just this year but throughout their lifetimes. The Warriors are a more solid team who are capable of grinding out a victory, while you never know what you're getting with the Titans. Considering they are coming off a loss and the Warriors are win, I'm going to say that the inconsistency continues, and the Titans get up. Titans by 8.
1. Corey Thompson 2. Anthony Don 3. Beau Fermor 4. Bryce Cartwright 5. Treymain Spry 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Sam Stone 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Jarrod Wallace
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu'a 3. Patrick Herbert 4. Peta Hiku 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Adam Blair 11. Jack Murchie 13. Karl Lawton 12. Tohu Harris 14. Agnatius Paasi 15. Jack Hetherington 16. Isaiah Papali'i 17. Jazz Tevaga
Referees: Chris Butler; Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Henry Perenara; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Lowe;