Gold Coast v Sydney preview

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Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters Saturday 3:00pm at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina / Yugambeh

Titans look to get back on track against unpredictable Roosters

The league's newest team will take on the only true foundation club when the Gold Coast Titans host the Sydney Roosters this Saturday.

After a promising start to the season the Gold Coast Titans have fallen out of the top eight due to a string of poor defensive showings.

Conceding 33 points on average in each of their past eight matches to rank standing as the third worst defensive team in the league, coach Justin Holbrook has been left to lament his side's standing after pre-season pundits envisioned big things for 2021.

Coming into the contest after narrowly going down 20-14 to the Storm last Saturday, the Titans will be hoping to break through for their first win over the Roosters in five years.

Welcoming back Queensland quartet of AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika, David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui three days after the opening State of Origin fixture, last week's try-scoring debutant Greg Marzhew has held his place in the backline alongside Brian Kelly, who will play his 50th match for the club.

Standing strong in the face of considerable adversity over the opening half of the season, the Sydney Roosters will be looking to remain in contention for an unlikely tilt at the title.

Benefitting from a weekend off in the lead-up to the opening Origin encounter, the Roosters have dominated the Titans with eight wins from ten clashes during Trent Robinson's coaching tenure.

Winning four of their six visits to CBUS Super Stadium over the years, the Roosters will welcome back established forward Angus Crichton (suspension) and teenage playmaker Sam Walker (rested).

Establishing a reputation as one of the premier front-rowers of the NRL era, New Zealand international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will make his 250th first grade appearance 12 years after debuting with the Sea Eagles as a 20-year-old.

Last meeting: Round 12 2020 - Roosters 18 Titans 12

Who to watch: Overlooked for an Origin recall despite the Maroons missing a number of first-choice front-rowers, Jarrod Wallace will be looking to press his case with a strong showing on Saturday afternoon. Enjoying a fair season with 100 metres and 24 tackles on average, the 29-year-old has regained his place in the starting team after spending a large part of last year plying his trade off the bench. Set to oppose milestone man Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in a ferocious battle up front, a strong showing from Wallace will be sure to be noted by Queensland selectors ahead of Game II in just over a fortnight.

Earning rave reviews while still in the infancy of his first grade career, Sam Walker will be looking to make up for lost time in his home state. Rested from the side's big win over the Raiders a fortnight ago, the 18-year-old halfback has thrived in his first eight appearances with four tries, ten try-assists and an assuredness rarely seen in halfbacks of a similar vintage. Considered a top contender to be named Rookie of the Year based on his introduction to the NRL, Walker will be looking to enhance his reputation by guiding the Tricolours to back-to-back wins for the first time in a month.

The favourite: While their form has wavered in recent weeks, the ingrained class of the Roosters is expected to be too much for the Titans to contend with on Saturday afternoon.

My tip: In a match pitting a side ranked third in defence against another ranked third-last, you don't have to be a rugby league boffin to know how this match will play out. Sydney Roosters by 16.

21. Jayden Campbell 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Erin Clark 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 18. Sam Stone 16. Sam McIntyre 12. David Fifita 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 14. Tyrone Peachey 19. Joseph Vuna 17. Esan Marsters

4. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 21. Joseph Suaalii 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Lachlan Lam 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 14. Adam Keighran 17. Fletcher Baker 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu 9. Ben Marschke 15. Egan Butcher 16. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 19. Ben Thomas 20. Brad Abbey

Referees: Ben Cummins; Sideline Officials: Drew Oultram, Michael Wise; Video Referees: Henry Perenara;

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