By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 17 – Gold Coast Titans V Penrith Panthers – Saturday, TIO Stadium (Darwin). 19.00 local time, 21.30 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: Gold Coast Titans took an absolute pounding and will be under pressure to turn it around this week. The Knights beat them 46-16.
Penrith Panthers were too good for the Dragons once again this season as they beat down the Red V 25-10.
THIS WEEK: Titans have a massive forward pack that is mobile. The thing about the Titans massive forward pack is that sometimes they forget they are mobile. It’s about using the best credentials they have up front to get a stream roll going early.
Panthers have had to deal with a few injuries this season, and made plenty of great signings for their club next season. A Titans side won’t be easy. If they can bring their confidence from the smooth halves we may see big things.
WHAT TO EXPECT: From the Gold Coast to Darwin, I would like to see them put on a great show for their home away from home. Fantastic talent in the halves which have taken this side to a new level. Every other play however needs to stand up and perform to their level also.
Penrith haven’t traveled well of late, and have had an up and down season. It starts up front I believe. To get away early will bring a wave of confidence through this side. When they are at their best, they are passing the ball around and giving it air. When Penrith are looking dangerous it’s when the backs have space to run.
THE BATTLE OF: Young Guns. Kevin Gordon has played close to 90 NRL matches at the tender age of 23. His attributes include a big amount of speed that makes him an explosive player with ball in hand. Despite his need for a haircut, he is a young leader in this Titans side.
James Roberts is also wearing the 2 jersey, not going directly up against Gordon but the left-winger has speed to burn at 20 years old. Exuberance on his side, he gets excited with every touch of the ball and can finish well.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Dave Taylor – Davatar. This mountain/sloth/caveman is a five-eighth in a props body playing second-row. Everything is an option when he’s got the ball, which makes him outrageously dangerous.
Adam Docker – Slotting in at the back of the scrum this young fella has a big future on his shoulders. Can tackle and tackle and tackle and tackle. Gives a nice offload too on attack.
Darwinians (I doubt that’s what they’re called but that sounds cool) are in for a treat. This is a great team with plenty of heart and fight in them. The Titans are a top-eight side which will be the difference. Titans 30 – 20 over the Panthers
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