Titans v Warriors preview

Embed from Getty Images
Gold Coast Titans v Warriors Sunday 2:00pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Warriors Look To End Titans Mathematical Finals Chance

Going into the last round of the regular season, there is still one spot in the top eight up for grabs. The Titans are the longest odds to clinch that spot, however there is still a chance that, come Sunday Afternoon, they find themselves in a "win and in" situation.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are no longer a shot at the finals after they surrendered a 16-point lead last week against the Raiders. It means that this will be their last match in Australia before they can head home to New Zealand.

Ordinarily this would lead to scepticism as to whether or not the Warriors will be fully focused on the game at hand, however there is a large chunk of their roster that has never played a home game at Mt Smart Stadium or even been to New Zealand, which means the homesick factor may not be as big of an impact.

Exactly what's required of the Titans to make an unlikely finals appearance will be known closer to kick-off. Assuming the teams in competition with them for that spot, the Raiders and Sharks, both lose, the Titans will most probably have to beat the Warriors by a certain margin, unless the Sharks lose by 23 or more, in which case a win by any score would do the job. 

In team news, Moeaki Fotuaika is back at starting prop after recently signing an extension with the Titans. His promotion pushes Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to lock and Sam McIntyre back to the bench. Justin Holbrook has opted to keep David Fifita on the bench and Tyrone Peachey at five-eighth despite the recent strong showings of Toby Sexton.

For the Warriors, Chad Townsend is injured again and has assumedly played his last game for the club. In his place returns Chanel Harris-Tavita, while the starting forward pack is unchanged. There is just the one change on the bench, with Bunty Afoa coming in for Jamayne Taunoa-Brown. 

In regards to the matchup itself, both sides are generally renowned for their high point scoring, but neither have shown the same attacking flair in recent weeks that fans are used to, with the Titans average of 13.3 points per game in the last 3 weeks beaten out by the Warriors average of 20 against fellow bottom 8 teams. It remains to be seen whether the low scoring will continue on Sunday. 

Last meeting: Round 1 2021 - Warriors 19 Titans 6

Who to watch: After being left out of the side for a couple of games, Jamal Fogarty did more than enough last week against the Knights to ensure selection for the rest of the Titans season, however long that may be. He was able to control the game with his boot, kicking 19 times for 681 metres, while also putting in 3 grubbers for 3 goal line dropouts. He also picked his moments to run, going for 65 metres off 10 runs. The Titans only try assist coming from Beau Fermor should raise some concerns for Fogarty however; attacking creativity was an area they were lacking last week and it will need to improve if they're a chance of beating the Warriors by enough to secure a top 8 spot. 

Wayde Egan had one of his best games in a Warriors jersey last week, and while this fixture against the Titans may be meaningless in terms of ladder position, it serves as the last game situation for players to stake their claims for a starting position next year. While Egan is under contract for 2022, the Warriors could easily hit the open market for a hooker, however more performances like last week, where he ran 10 times for 124 metres, assisted 1 try and made 38 tackles, will go a long way to ensuring job security for the former Panthers hooker. 

The favourite: The Titans are favoured by 11 and a half points over the Warriors for this one.

My tip: I love a good fairy tale. Titans by however many they'll need to make the finals.

1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Sam McIntyre 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 14. Erin Clark 15. David Fifita 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 19. Sam Lisone 20. Toby Sexton

1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Peta Hiku 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matt Lodge 11. Josh Curran 12. Euan Aitken 13. Bayley Sironen 15. Eliesa Katoa 16. Kane Evans 17. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 18. Jazz Tevaga 14. Kodi Nikorima

Referees: Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials: Liam Kennedy, Belinda Sharpe; Video Referees: Alan Shortall;

Follow all the action LIVE in our Match Centre