Is Daniel Mortimer the man to save the Titans' season? Image courtesy of: Credit: Colin Whelan
Rabbitohs v Titans
Monday July 7 – 7:05 PM (AEST)
The Gold Coast Titans are another team that dreads the Origin period, but more so this year. They usually lose captains Greg Bird and Nate Myles, but this year they are also hampered by injuries. On the other hand, South Sydney have coped to losing key players such as Greg Inglis and Ben Te’o to a Maroon jersey. They have the depth and talent to make sure the damage is minimal.
Titans coach John Cartwright has obviously walked under a ladder, or broken a mirror, or crossed paths with a black cat. The bad luck just seems to continue for the Titans. They have not just lost their first choice halves, but also their back up halves. Recruiting Roosters utility Daniel Mortimer was a must. Losing Bird and Myles is not what they needed, but losing Dave Taylor as well to an Origin jersey is another problem for a team struggling to regain its mojo. Taylor has found the form which saw him one of the premier back rowers a few seasons ago, and the Titans had been reaping the benefits. Paul Carter returns from a club issued suspension to start at lock, with Ben Ridge (concussion) given until the last minute to prove his fitness. Tom Kingston and Albert Kelly make up the extended bench.
The Bunnies were given a rude awakening on Saturday night. They must have thought they were a sure thing against the Cowboys up in Townsville. But when Johnathan Thurston is playing for the other team, nothing is a sure thing. The Bunnies were slow off the mark and soft in the middle - two traits which have made them so dominant in the past. If they head into Monday’s match with the same mind set, they will get their pants pulled down again. Coach Michael Maguire has made a tactical switch, with Issac Luke dropping to the bench, and rookie Apisai Koroisau starting at hooker. Nathan Merritt shifts to fullback to cover Inglis, Joel Reddy moves onto the wing and Sam Burgess reverts to the back row to cover for Te’o. Ben Lowe comes off the bench replace the injured Chris McQueen (ankle), with Jason Clarke moving into lock. Joe Picker and Lote Tuqiri come onto the bench.
The Titans have to start winning. It’s a tough challenge to start against the Bunnies, but no one is unbeatable. If the Rabbits can improve the strength in the middle, and give halves Reynolds and Sutton time to work, then the Burrow will be singing all the way home.
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