Thu, May 2, 6:48pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans (NRL Round 8)
When/Where: 2:00pm Sunday, 5 May 2013 at Mt Smart Stadium
Best NRL Betting Site: www.Centrebet.com
The Warriors again find themselves at the bottom of the ladder after a ten point loss at the hands of the Storm last Thursday. It certainly wasn’t the Warriors worst performance of the season and they have now managed to go very close to beating both top teams (Storm and Rabbitohs).
Unfortunately that won’t earn you competition points and things are becoming desperate for the $126 premiership chances, even at this early juncture. Coach Matthew Elliott conceded that his team would need to win at least eleven of their seventeen remaining matches to be any hope of making the top eight. On the back of nine days between games, this match may prove the ideal place for them to start.
The Titans were hit hard by injuries last weekend and John Cartwright will be forced to reshuffle his troops for this match. The Titans were left short staffed after a litany of injuries crippled their hopes against the Knights last Sunday.
The Warriors will prove a difficult hurdle for the Titans given their casualty list but this is the type of game they’ll need to win to remain top eight chances.
Head to Head
Warriors – $1.48
Titans – $2.70
Warriors 1-12 – $3.10
Warriors 13+ – $2.65
Titans 1-12 – $4.25
Titans 13+ – $6.15
Warriors -6.5 – $1.91
Titans xxx +6.5 $1.91
• Warriors have won their last 4 against the Titans.
• Overall, the sides have met 12 times, with 6 wins each.
• Warriors have lost of their last 5 appearances at Mt Smart Stadium.
• Titans have lost 3 of 5 appearances at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Warriors have made quite a few changes for this weekend’s clash. Konrad Hurrell will miss the match due to injury and is replaced in the centres by Ben Henry who moves out of the second row. Simon Mannering returns from injury and will fill the void in the back row. Giant winger Manu Vatuvei is also back in the side and replaces Ng Lau.
1. Kevin Locke
2. Bill Tupou
3. Jerome Ropati
4. Ben Henry
5. Manu Vatuvei
6. Thomas Leuluai
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Sam Rapira
9. Nathan Friend
10. Russell Packer
11. Feleti Mateo
12. Simon Mannering (c)
13. Todd Lowrie
14. Ben Matulino
15. Jacob Lillyman
16. Elijah Taylor
17. Pita Godinet
18. Ngani Laumape
The Warriors have managed just one victory in season 2013 yet they have managed to come close to beating the top two teams.
Last week they looked to have the Storm at their mercy with just ten minutes remaining. As usual, the Storm found a way to win but the quality football produced by the Warriors in that match was a feature.
In Round 6 they built a lead against the Raiders in Canberra but capitulated to lose by four points (20-16). This looked to be a golden opportunity gone begging.
It was a similar scenario the week before in New Zealand against the South Sydney team. The Warriors appeared to have them beaten for all money. Yet somehow they allowed the Rabbitohs to perform a great escape and went down by two points (24-22).
The Warriors only win this year was in Round 4. Despite the fact that they were behind 12-0 at half time, the Warriors rallied to topple the Cowboys at Mount Smart Stadium by two points (20-18).
The Warriors have shown they can be brilliant against the best. They have also shown that they lack the consistency to close out an eighty minute match. If they can improve in that respect we will see them winning more often.
Brad Takairangi comes back into the Titans top team to replace the injured Luke O’Dwyer this weekend. Kevin Gordon is also back in the teams and replaced Steve Michaels who has been named as the eighteenth man for the Titans.
Beau Falloon will start at hooker in lieu of the injured Matt Srama. Luke Bailey comes into the starting side at prop and Nate Myles moves to lock to replace the injured Ashley Harrison.
The new faces on the bench are Mark Ioane and Sam Irwin.
1. William Zillman
2. Kevin Gordon
3. Brad Takairangi
4. Jamal Idris
5. Anthony Don
6. Aidan Sezer
7. Albert Kelly
8. Luke Douglas
9. Beau Falloon
10. Luke Bailey
11. Greg Bird
12. Mark Minichiello
13. Nate Myles
14. David Taylor
15. Mark Ioane
16. Ryan James
17. Sam Irwin
18. Steve Michaels
The Gold Coast Titans have started the season as the surprise packets of 2013. They have won four of their first seven matches and are the only team to have defeated Manly this year. They have had their share of injuries in recent weeks and that looks to have taken a turn for the worst this week.
Last week they suffered vital player losses during the match. Hooker Matt Srama suffered a compound fracture to his finger and Luke O’Dwyer fractured his cheekbone to name but two of many injuries they suffered. They fought hard but were no match for an energetic Knights outfit, losing 30-6.
They showed a never die attitude in Round 6 to come back and defeat Parramatta from a seemingly impossible situation. But in an exhibition of fighting quality they managed to find a way to win by six points (28-22).
In Round 5, they were handed a footballing exhibition by an in form Broncos outfit. A combination of injuries before and during the match did not help the Titans cause. They were never in the game and eventually lost by twenty points (32-12).
No doubt, the Titans biggest scalp this season is no doubt their 16-14 win over the Sea Eagles in Round 3. That win showed what the Titans are capable of under pressure, especially at full strength.
With a tiny bit more luck, the Warriors may have defeated the top two teams in the NRL this season. The fact that they sit in last place is not any indication of the football they have produced. What’s more, they are even better at home.
They will enter this match knowing that they have just ran the Melbourne Storm right down to the wire and could have easily won. They take on an injury ravaged Titans and it looks a great opportunity.
Shaun Johnson is no doubt a key factor for the Warriors. His passing and running games are brilliant and getting better every week. His pass selection has been a little wayward at times but he is a work in progress. Once Johnson masters his decision making, he could be something special.
The Titans will rely on their old heads in the forwards in this match. Bird, Myles and Bailey will be the big players for the Gold Coast outfit. If they can get on top of their opposing forward pack then they will stifle the Warriors completely.
A confident Warriors outfit, back at home against an injury plagued Titans really appears to tip the scales in the Warriors favour. It is far from the easiest game of the round to tip but I can’t tip against the Warriors.
Warriors by 8
The Warriors 1-12 at $3.10 at Centrebet.com offers a decent return and looks a solid investment.
The Warriors 7-12 in the Six Point Margins bet looks ok at $5.50
Bill Tupou is $9 to score the games first try which is much more inviting than Manu Vatuvei’s $7.
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