David Mead is the leading tryscorer in the history of the Titans. Picture: Peter Wallis/couriermail.com.au
Broncos v Titans
Following a last start win over reigning premiers Manly in Round 7, the Gold Coast Titans will be looking to record their third win of the season when they face the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Their cause hasn’t been helped by the suspension of workhorse Ashley Harrison, who has been rubbed out for one game following a high shot on Vic Mauro.
The Broncos have strung together five straight wins since losing to the Cowboys in round 2 to occupy second on the ladder and will be confident on keeping the pressure on the unbeaten Melbourne Storm at the top of the table. Halfback Peter Wallace returns to the starting side after missing the 30-6 victory over the Raiders.
– Brisbane has dominated clashes between these sides, winning eight of the eleven matches that they have played, including the past five. They won 30-10 here in round 19 last season after recording a 14-8 success away from home earlier in the campaign.
– Star centre Justin Hodges showed glimpses of his best form against the Raiders two weeks ago and then again in the Test match in New Zealand last weekend. He has only scored one try this year and you just get the feeling he is on the verge of a big game.
David Mead became the leading tryscorer in the history of the Titans with his four pointer against Manly a fortnight ago. With three tries from just four matches this season he is again proving to be the Gold Coast’s more potent weapon in attack.
– The Broncos have been irresistible this season and it is hard to see the Gold Coast bursting their bubble. They will be full of confidence having defeated the defending premiers in their last match however, and should put up a good fight. Broncos 1-12
Bulldogs v Manly
Former Sea Eagles mentor Des Hasler faces his former club for the first time since abandoning the premiers to coach the Bulldogs , who have won just one of their past four after opening the season with three wins. Manly , who have named Keiran Foran and the Stewart (Brett and Glenn) brothers to return, have also been inconsistent in 2012, winning just three of their opening seven fixtures.
– These sides have a long history in the NRL, with Manly winning 60 of the 113 meetings between the clubs. They won both clashes last season, including a 38-4 win at ANZ Stadium in round 13.
– Josh Morris is the Bulldogs leading tryscorer this season, with five tries in seven games. He will continue to press his case for selection in the Blues State of Origin team.
The return of Brett Stewart for Manly is huge. His is one of the best support players in the game and the Bulldogs will have to be alert to his presence around the back of the ruck when the Sea Eagles are on the attack.
– There doesn’t appear to be much between these sides, but it was hard to fault the Bulldogs effort against the Storm in their last match where they put in a good fight to go down 12-6. Bulldogs 1-12
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