Simon Mannering will look to guide his men to a victory on the Gold Coast. Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Gold Coast Titans v New Zealand Warriors
Cbus Super Stadium
Saturday May 24 – 5:35 PM (AEST)
The Gold Coast Titans are facing their most trying time so far this season. Representative period affects the Titans more than it does the New Zealand Warriors , with captains Nate Myles and Greg Bird regular Origin selections. While Myles pulls on the Maroon jersey, only suspension has denied Bird his Blues jumper. The Warriors have no players involved in the interstate battle and head into Saturday's clash at near full strength.
It just goes from bad to worse for the Titans. First it was gun half-back Albert Kelly dropping out of last Friday's clash against the Broncos. Now Aiden Sezer (pectoral) is out of action for at least three months. Coach John Cartwright has had to make a couple of changes in light of recent injuries and rep duty. Albert Kelly returns in place of the injured Sezer, veteran Luke Bailey starts up front for Myles and Mark Ioane comes onto the bench, along with Ben Ridge. Cody Nelson is 18th man.
The Warriors have found a great combination in Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins. If it wasn’t for a bit of selfishness on Johnson’s part, the Warriors could've beaten the top of the ladder Bulldogs last Sunday. The switch of Johnson and Tomkins to fullback and half-back at times continue to keep the defence guessing and this week should be no different. Kevin Locke starts on the wing, with Ngani Laumape shifting to the centres. Kiwi international Ben Henry reverts to the second row, with Ben Matulino returning up front. Suaia Matagi drops back to the bench, with Siliva Havili playing his first game since his Test debut at the start of the month.
It’s a challenge for the Titans, but it’s their home ground and I’m sure they will be ready for it. The Warriors head to the Coast full of confidence, but they might just get pipped in this one.
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