Titans v Sea Eagles preview

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Gold Coast Titans v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Saturday 5:30pm at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina / Yugambeh

Des-tiny awaits as winless Titans host Sea Eagles

The Gold Coast Titans will be striving to claim their first win of the season when they host the Manly Sea Eagles at CBUS Super Stadium on Saturday evening.

Producing their worst ever start to a season with five straight losses to sit in 16th position, the Gold Coast Titans will be hoping this is the week they become the final team to register a win in 2024.

Coach Des Hasler, coming up against the Sea Eagles for the first time since being sacked in the wake of the Everyone in League jersey calamity, has made minimal changes from the side defeated 21-20 in golden point by the Raiders on Sunday night.

Phillip Sami will start at fullback for the first time in four years with Jayden Campbell sidelined with a knee injury; David Fifita has been named to start after coming off the bench last week.

Aiming to post three consecutive wins over the Sea Eagles for only the second time, the Titans boast the second worst defence in the league with 29.2 points conceded on average this season while managing just 12 points per game with the ball in response.

Enjoying a much-improved start to 2024 with multiple scalps to sit inside the top eight, the Manly Sea Eagles will be aiming to continue a dominant record on the Gold Coast.

Squandering a game-winning lead to draw 22-all with the Warriors in golden point last Saturday, coach Anthony Seibold will welcome back Jason Saab and Reuben Garrick in the backline, while Matthew Lodge and Nathan Brown have been included a reshuffled forward pack.

Winning eight out of 13 matches against the Titans at CBUS Super Stadium, the Sea Eagles have historically struggled against sides coached by Des Hasler, winning four out of 14 contests during the 2010s.

Last meeting: Round 9 2023 - Sea Eagles 10 Titans 26

Who to watch: Returning to the halves last week after an ill-conceived shift to the centres to begin the year, the Titans will be looking for AJ Brimson to stand tall and deliver the side's first win. Regarded as one of the best attacking players in the league, the 25-year-old has enjoyed strong returns against Manly with six tries from eight matches.

Contracted on the Gold Coast until the end of 2026, look for Brimson to be heavily involved if the Titans are to break through for a desperately needed victory. 

Playing without the burden of having to direct play from first receiver, Luke Brooks has opted against asserting himself at Manly in favour of a supporting role. Scoring a try, setting up three and defending respectably over the opening six rounds, the 29-year-old playmaker produced a costly intercept and failed to demand the ball with the game on the line during last week's draw in Auckland.

Capable of offering much more to the Sea Eagles - even with Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans in the team - Brooks has an opportunity to stand up against a struggling side on Saturday evening. 

Favourite: The Sea Eagles are expected to better handle the fatigue of playing an additional 10 minutes last week and inflict further misery upon their winless opponents. 

My tip:  Having allowed two premiership points to slip through their fingers last week, the Sea Eagles will be determined to atone at a venue that has brought great success over the years. Sea Eagles by 10.

6. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Jojo Fifita 20. Tanah Boyd 7. Kieran Foran 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 13. Klese Haas 12. Beau Fermor 16. Isaac Liu 14. David Fifita 14. Sam Verrills 15. Erin Clark 17. Josiah Pahulu 21. Tony Francis

1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Tolutau Koula 4. Reuben Garrick 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Corey Waddell 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Karl Lawton 15. Ethan Bullemor 16. Aaron Woods 19. Dean Matterson 22. Aitasi James

Referees: Liam Kennedy; Sideline Officials: Belinda Sharpe, Nick Pelgrave; Video Referees: Gerard Sutton;

Match facts

HEAD TO HEAD since 2007
ALL26 12 14 0
CBUS13 5 8 0
2021 R6 MAN 36-0 Glen Willow 6380
2021 R15 MAN 56-24 Cbus Super 14408
2022 R6 MAN 26-18 4 Pines 16220
2022 R22 GLD 44-24 Cbus Super 11753
2023 R9 GLD 26-10 4 Pines 10107
2016 R15 GLD 30-10 Cbus Super 8278
2022 R22 GLD 44-24 Cbus Super 11753
2021 R6 MAN 36-0 Glen Willow 6380

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