The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Gold Coast Titans this week as they head to fortress Brookvale to take on the high-flying Manly Sea Eagles. Join us from 3pm for live scores.
Whilst they have both hovered around the middle of the top eight for large chunks of the season, the last two rounds of competition couldn’t have been more different for today’s two sides.
After surprising their critics in the early part of the season with some gritty performances, the Titans last two matches have seen them concede 86 points in disappointing losses that have subsequently seen them topple out of the NRL’s top eight.
On the other hand Manly have piled on almost just as many points in their last two outings, and not even the absence of their star halfback Daly Cherry Evans could stop them from racking up a big win in Townsville last week.
With the Sea Eagles almost at full strength and the Titans missing key players through injury or Origin fatigue, John Cartwright’s men are in for a hard day at the office.
When these two teams met earlier in the season the Gold Coast were surprise winners, and the Titans also managed to pull off an upset to defeat Manly at the intimidating Brookvale oval last time they played at the venue.
And whilst a win today though would be a larger upset than the two above games combined, the Titans have named a side that looks more experienced than the one that was run over by Penrith in Darwin with the return of Taylor and Falloon.
Tactics wise the Titans will have little choice but to try to take Manly on straight up the middle with their large pack, and hope speedsters Mead, Srama and Kelly can pick up a sneaky offload and find some broken field.
In comparison Manly, with their superstar backline and wide running backrowers, will continue targeting the Titans out wide in the centres, an area where the Gold Coast has struggled to contain sides since the injury of Jamaal Idris.
With noted try scorers Taufua, Williams, Lyon and Matai working off good ball from Foran and Glenn Stewart, it’s going to be hard to see the Titans holding off an in form Manly at home today.
Manly by ten.