Titans flying above the Storm

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    Dallas Johnson from the Storm is spear tackled in the NRL by Gold Coast Titans players AAP Image/Action Photographics/Jeff Crow

    Dallas Johnson from the Storm is spear tackled in the NRL by Gold Coast Titans players AAP Image/Action Photographics/Jeff Crow

    The Titans and Storm are both flying under the radar, but they seem to be going in different directions. With most of the rugby league community in Australia entranced by the battle for the top eight, the fortunes of two sides who have been entrenched in there from early in the season seems to be avoiding the media glare.

    The battle for the minor premiership has long been seen as a battle between the Dragons and Bulldogs, yet the Titans may yet claim the top spot from the regular season.

    The Titans must be doing something right to have won 10 from 11 games at home this season and it will no doubt be a daunting trip for their opponents in week one of the finals.

    Coach John Cartwright is probably enjoying letting the other sides deal with the pressure of favouritism, it is not a mantle teams normally readily embrace, but I’m positive they are building a battle plan for September.

    Their final two games should give us a good indication of the sort of impact they may make on the finals.

    A desperate Wests Tigers side should give their home ground record a real shake, while Brookvale Oval on the final weekend is as good a test as any of one’s ability to win on the road.

    But these tests can be embraced with the knowledge that regardless of the results the Titans will be playing finals football.

    The same can’t be said of the Melbourne Storm.

    The Storm’s woes are not completely the fault of Greg Inglis’ absence. They have looked pretty patchy all season and a shadow of their former selves.

    The salary cap enforced departures have really bitten this season and the loss of Inglis was just the final hammer blow to a fighter already on the ropes.

    If the finals were to be played tomorrow, the Storm would probably be the team opponents would pick to play.

    But just what state they are in when the finals actually do start is the real question.

    They obviously need Inglis back, but also need their swagger, their mojo…whatever the stuff of attacking confidence is called these days.

    Coaches normally prefer to steer clear of the whipping boys in the run up to the finals, preferring for tough hit outs to prepare their teams for the intensity of the battle to come.

    But a hit out in which they can put on some points might be the thing the Storm really needs.

    Of course, if they lose either of them then any debate about the impact it may have on their premiership desires is probably academic, they won’t be there when the whips are cracking.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • August 24th 2009 @ 10:06am
      Alan Nicolea said | August 24th 2009 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Steve

      Can’t believe Storm lost to Manly. The one time i want them to win and they actually lose. Manly’s desperation in defence though was outstanding. Cooper Cronk looked to have scored a try from a scrum only to lose the ball over the line thanks to some great defence. Billy Slater in the last minute of the game looked to have a mountain of support but the Sea Eagles covering defence was sublime. With Brett Stewart back next week, the Sea Eagles are now ready to mount a suitable defence to their 2008 title.

    • August 24th 2009 @ 4:48pm
      Michael B said | August 24th 2009 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

      Those who thought that Finch leaving the eels was a big mistake surely must be eating their words! I watched the Storm vs Manly game yesterday and he made quite a few errors. He’s not the answer for storm at 5/8 and they have suffered as a result. Not entirely his fault, but he wasn’t that good of a signing IMO. The entire team look a bit tired. Esp their rep stars.

      Titans have flown under the radar, but haven’t really played any in form teams over the past few weeks. Tigers will be a good test to see where they’re at. I suspect they will lose…

      I would be very surprised if either of these teams make it to the 2nd last week of the finals.

    • Roar Guru

      August 24th 2009 @ 5:29pm
      Steve Kaless said | August 24th 2009 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

      Alan,

      Yeah with Stewart back the Sea Eagles should be a real shout, especially if they end up with a top four finish.

      Michael,

      I agree with the call on Brett Finch. It was actually only a few months ago but it feels like 100 hundred years. The Tele were running headlines proclaiming the Eels to be “Heartless” then “Penniless” and the loss of Finch was to condemn them to also rans and the club was apparently about to go under. I think at the time you could get a fair price on the winning the wooden spoon.

      The turn around has been truly staggering, although perhaps it shows how overhyped their inital problems were.

    • August 24th 2009 @ 6:58pm
      Skull said | August 24th 2009 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

      Titans will be shown up as pretenders soon enough. They only have Prince. Rogers will trip over the half way line and get injured and is Campbell injured? I thought I heard a report saying he was. I think this is the year when a bottom 4 team have a real chance. And rally they should have only one 10 of 12 at home thanks to the worst refeerring decision of the year so far (or 2nd worst if you are a dogs fan).

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