Desperate Warriors Welcome Skipper Back

Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Simon Mannering returns for the Warriors this week. Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Last 5 Meetings

Round 18 2012 – New Zealand Warriors 32 d Gold Coast Titans 14 at Skilled Park
Round 4 2012 – New Zealand Warriors 26 d Gold Coast Titans 6 at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 18 2011 – New Zealand Warriors 22 d Gold Coast Titans 6 at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 9 2011 – New Zealand Warriors 34 d Gold Coast Titans 14 at Skilled Park
Qualifying Final 2010 – Gold Coast Titans 28 d New Zealand Warriors 16 at Skilled Park

Current Form

  Rd 3   Rd 4   Rd 5    Rd 6    Rd 7 
Warriors

L

W

L

L

L

Titans

W

W

L

W

L


The Warriors  will be looking to move off the foot of the NRL table when they tackle the injury ravaged Titans at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday. The New Zealand based side is the only team to have just one victory to its name in 2013 but will confident of registering another with several key players returning from injury. Skipper Simon Mannering and winger Manu Vatuvei both missed the trip to Melbourne on ANZAC day but come back into the starting side this week, with Konrad Hurrell dumped and Ngani Laumape dropping back onto a five man bench.

Ashley Harrison, Matt Srama and Luke O’Dwyer all went down with injuries inside the opening 10 minutes of the Titans 30-6 loss to the Knights last weekend and are unavailable for selection meaning former Warriors under-20s star Mark Ioane will make his NRL debut against his former club. Outside backs Kevin Gordon and Brad Takairangi return from hamstring injuries, while young hooker Sam Irwin gets another chance in the top grade after debuting in round six.

1st Tryscorer

Giant winger Manu Vatuvei  has struggled to get on the park this season but when he has been fit, he has made an impact for the Warriors. ‘The Beast’ scored a double against the Raiders in his last NRL appearance and was also the first tryscorer for his team.

Anthony Don  has been a prolific tryscorer in the Queensland Cup for several seasons and has started his NRL career in the same vein, scoring a try with his first touch of the ball in the top grade against the Eels. He will relish the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Vatuvei.

Prediction

Although the Warriors are at the foot of the table, there is no doubt that their recent performances are not those of a poor side. The Titans may be nine places higher than them on the ladder but they have several key players out with injury and have lost four on the bounce against New Zealand. New Zealand Warriors 1-12

Click here to bet on NRL Round 8 matches