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Round 23 gets underway tonight when the Gold Coast Titans take on the Melbourne Storm at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7.50pm (AEST).
The Gold Coast Titans have a mountain to climb if they hope to win tonight. Not only do they have to prevent the Storm from winning 18 straight, they also need to beat a team with a near perfect record in Queensland.
The good news for the Titans is that they were the team to blemish that record. The bad news is that it happened way back in 2017.
The Titans are just clinging on to their spot in the eight after going down 36-6 to the Rabbits last weekend. They just couldn’t control the Rabbits left edge which again had a great day out.
David Fifita started on the bench for the Gold Coast but failed to have any impact when he did get onto the field. Tyrone Peachey also ran on when the game was as good as over.
With the Titans struggling for points last weekend, possibly the bench strategy requires a re-think.
Plenty of changes for the Titans, with Jayden Campbell coming in for the injured AJ Brimson. Jamal Fogarty makes his way back into the team, with Toby Sexton sacked.
Erin Clark replaces Mitch Rein at hooker. Moeaki Fotuaika is out, with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui going to prop and Sam McIntyre named at lock. David Fifita has been named to start.
The Melbourne Storm closed in on the minor premiership last round with a 26-16 victory over Canberra. Melbourne were not at their best against a resilient Raiders outfit but did enough to win and keep their winning streak alive.
The Storm have had their fair share of injuries and suspensions but their system allows for holes to be filled just that little bit easier.
With Jahrome Hughes rested, Nicho Hynes moves to halfback. Ryan Papenhuyzen is finally back at starting fullback. Dale Finucane is also being rested, so Chris Lewis comes into the starting side and Tepai Moeroa joins the bench.
Harry Grant will start at hooker, with Brandon Smith getting a week off. Justin Olam also gets a break with his spot taken by Marion Seve. George Jennings comes back into the side at wing.
Cooper Johns and Jordan Grant are the other new faces on the bench.
The Storm are resting a lot of troops but still field a quality line-up. Cameron Munster and Nicho Hynes in the halves should cause plenty of problems for the Titans’ defence.
The Titans need to find a win to stay in the eight, but they seem to be below their best at the moment, and the loss of AJ Brimson is massive.
Melbourne are working towards the minor premiership and they will secure a win.
Melbourne Storm by 16.
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEST)
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Brisbane
TV: Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo, Foxtel, NRL Live Pass
Odds: Titans $7.60; Storm $1.08 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Jayden Campbell 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Erin Clark 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Sam McIntyre
Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Beau Fermor
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nicholas Hynes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Chris Lewis
Interchange: 14. Jordan Grant 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Tepai Moeroa 17. Cooper Johns