GOLD COAST TITANS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Round 3, 2015 NRL Premiership
Date: Sunday March 22
Kick off: 5.30pm local time
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Referee: Adam Devcich
Last time they met:
The Titans rained on the Knights’ parade in RiseforAlex Round last year, coming out 22-8 winners.
The Knights have won seven of their 12 matches against the Titans, and of the four games the Knights have played at Cbus Super Stadium, they have won three.
1. Kurt Gidley (c), 2. James McManus, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Jarrod Mullen, 7. Tyrone Roberts, 8. Kade Snowden, 9. Adam Clydsdale, 10. Korbin Sims, 11. Beau Scott, 12. Robbie Rochow, 13. Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell, 15 Chris Houston, 16. David Fa'alogo, 17. Jack Stockwell, 18. Sione Mata'utia.
1. Josh Hoffman, 2. Anthony Don, 3. James Roberts, 4. William Zillman, 5. David Mead, 6. Aidan Sezer, 7. Daniel Mortimer, 8. Luke Douglas, 9. Beau Falloon, 10. Nate Myles (c), 11. Ryan James, 12. Dave Taylor, 13. Greg Bird. Interchange: 14. Eddy Pettybourne, 15. Matt White, 16. Ryan Simpkins, 17. Kierran Moseley.
Director of Football Michael Hagan believes it would serve the Knights well to disregard the Panthers’ heavy defeat of the Titans last weekend, and instead focus on what happened last year in RiseforAlex Round.
“Preparation will be more around some of the things Dave Taylor did in the game last year against us when he was a real handful,” Hagan says.
“They have a fair bit of speed in their backline… we need to handle their forwards well so that their backs don’t get too much time and space to operate in.”
While it would be easy to assume that the return of Greg Bird, Dave Taylor and Beau Falloon to the Titans’ fold is a bad thing for the Knights, Hagan believes otherwise.
“Probably the fact that their big guns have come back in helps us in terms of our mental preparation, because the last thing you want going into a game is a little bit of complacency,” he explains.
“One of our goals this season is to be more consistent in the way we play and prepare, so I think that helps the players to focus to be honest.”
Concerning the return of the Titans’ big guns, Hagan is hopeful that Kade Snowden can continue his recent good form.
“Snowden can have a real influence on the way we start the game and he was really good up front with Korbin Sims last week," Hagan added.
Meanwhile for Kurt Gidley, he is set to play to play a similar role to the one he played in Townsville.
“I think Kurt will be really happy that he got through 75 minutes last week and hasn’t pulled up sore at all,” Hagan says.
“This week I think he can play a similar role for us, but there’s always something that can change.
“Last week Akuila Uate came off which allowed Sione to go on the right wing, Kurt back to fullback and Clydsdale back to hooker.
“It’s just about managing Kurt and Sione at the moment, and it’s a smart way of bringing both players into the game.”
Where it will be won:
In the pre-match preparation.
It is highly probable that the Titans will come out of the gates flying on Sunday evening in a bid to put their last performance behind them.
The Knights will have to address this in their mental preparation if they don’t want to get overwhelmed early on.
“We haven’t actually started that well ourselves in the last two games, so we will have to withstand them early on,” Hagan notes.
"They are a side that is in need of a win,” Jarrod Mullen said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.