Titans v Cowboys preview

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Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys Sunday 2:00pm at Cbus Super Stadium

An all-Queensland Derby starts Sunday footy, with Gold Coast Titans playing host to North Queensland Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium.

The Titans have been there abouts in recent weeks but have just been missing that all-important win after pushing both the Penrith Panthers and the Sydney Roosters over the past fortnight. Last weekend, the Titans restricted the reigning premiers to just two tries in their 18-12 defeat at the Sydney Cricket Ground with the Roosters only adding an extra three penalty goals to take the victory.

Despite their competitiveness, the Titans have won just three games this season and sit down in 14th on the NRL ladder. The last victory for the Gold Coast came in Round 10 when they were able to defeat the New Zealand Warriors. For all the improvement the Titans have had, they have still struggled to score points having only passed 20 twice this season.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook has only made one change to his side for the weekend with Sam Lisone coming back onto the bench in the replace of Sam Stone, in what is an unchanged line-up otherwise.

Just like their opponents, the North Queensland Cowboys have been there abouts in recent weeks with very competitive performances against the Panthers, Manly & Canberra. Last weekend, the Cowboys fell just short against the Canberra Raiders in Townsville with a 14-12 defeat. The difference between the two sides was just a first-half Jarrod Croker penalty goal.

The North Queenslanders have shown a big step towards improvement over the past fortnight under care-taker coach Josh Hannay with decent performances against Manly and Canberra since taking over. The Cowboys despite sitting in 13th position on the NRL ladder actually sit above the Raiders and Manly who are both currently top 8 sides for points scored this season.

The Cowboys are boosted this weekend by the return of captain Michael Morgan who starts at halfback replacing Jake Clifford who has been dropped to the reserves. Positional switches see Tom Opacic return at centre pushing Justin O'Neil to the wing. Josh McGuire returns from suspension whilst Shane Wright, Gavin Cooper & John Asiata miss the squad completely.

Last meeting: Round 3 2020 - Cowboys 36 Titans 6

Who to watch: AJ Brimson made an important return to the Titans last weekend and looked good at the back for the Gold Coast. Brimson possesses excellent speed which will a boost for the Titans who often look to have a very static attack at times. The skill that Brimson has around the ball, means that he can often play as an extra half for the Titans creating that extra weapon around attack.

Cowboys captain Michael Morgan returns this weekend and it will be a much-needed return for the North Queenslanders. Morgan is an organiser for the Cowboys and they will be hoping for a leader to take their often-directionless attack in the right direction. Morgan's experiences will be a boost to the Cowboys side which has been up and down in recent times.

The favourite: The North Queensland Cowboys have been placed as heavy favourites for the game, the aspect between the two sides though feels much narrower.

My tip: Despite the Cowboys being the favourites, the Titans for me have shown more over the past fortnight. The Titans were able to push the Panthers for the entire 80 minutes a fortnight ago and then push the Roosters last weekend. The Cowboys have been flattered by playing in local conditions over the past two weeks with teams having to fly to the humid conditions which brings them back to the Cowboys level. The game will be tight but the Titans have too much attack for me. Titans by 6.

1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Dale Copley 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Nathan Peats 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jarrod Wallace 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Sam Lisone

1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Tom Opacic 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Justin O'Neill 6. Ben Hampton 7. Michael Morgan 8. Josh Mcguire 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Emry Pere 17. Francis Molo

Referees: Chris Sutton; Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Matt Noyen; Video Referees: Steve Clark, Ben Galea;

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