Origin dream driving Titans
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright says the clash of two of the NRL’s most-feared back rows will be worth the price of admission alone when his side hosts in-form Manly this Sunday.<br><br>The Titans are in desperate need of a win after consecutive losses to Newcastle and Brisbane have seen them drop to the edge of the top eight, but with State of Origin selectors sitting down on Monday to name their sides Cartwright said he is expecting fireworks in the forwards against the reigning premiers.<br><br>The highly anticipated match-up has been heightened by the return from injury of Test star Anthony Laffranchi alongside Mark Minichiello and Ashley Harrison, while the Sea Eagles have both Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart in line for NSW selection.<br><br>“They’ve all got a lot to play for outside playing for their team,” Cartwright told NRL.com today. “They’ve also got individual honours to achieve.<br><br>“In the case of our guys the three of them are all experienced players that set the standard within this club.<br><br>“Other players coming in see that and try to mimic it so they’re important for a lot of reasons, those guys. It should be a very good clash.”<br><br>While Manly’s horror start to the season has turned around in recent weeks on the back of impressive wins over Brisbane and Parramatta, the Titans haven’t been so fortunate – although Cartwright said his side wasn’t too far off returning to their best.<br><br>“We haven’t got a result, we haven’t won, but I’ve been very happy with the effort of the players,” he said.<br><br>“When you’re in tight games you’re not going to win them all.<br><br>“I thought we were in a position to win both of those games – as we have in just about every game this year – but a couple of things didn’t quite go our way.<br><br>“We need to work on a couple of little things but the important thing is that we’re putting in every week.<br><br>“Still, in the scheme of things we’ve lost a couple now and you don’t want to go more than two weeks in a row without a win.”<br><br>Already one of the most highly anticipated clashes of the weekend, the spectre of State of Origin adds another dimension for both sides, with up to 10 players in with a chance of selection.<br><br>One of those is Titans halfback Scott Prince, who won’t displace Kangaroos’ no.7 Johnathan Thurston in the starting line-up but could potentially play a role from the bench for Queensland.<br><br>“Princey could play that role,” Cartwright said. “He could play a role wherever he was asked to actually – but it all depends on the type of game the Queensland selectors want to play.<br><br>“I have no idea what they’re thinking at this stage.”<br><br>Asked how his side was shaping up ahead of the representative period, Cartwright said: “We only lose the Origin players for one week. <br><br>“We get two byes in two of the games which will help us but the players will have to back up once at least. <br><br>“One thing the past two weeks have done is proven to the staff that we have guys that can come in and do a job if required.”<br><br><b>Late news:</b><br><br>• Young Eel Daniel Mortimer will make his NRL debut against South Sydney tonight at five-eighth, partnering Jeff Robson;<br>• Penrith fullback Lachlan Coote is expected to come onto the bench for tomorrow’s clash with the Sydney Roosters in place of Joseph Paulo; and<br>• Wes Naiqama could make his return from injury for Newcastle this weekend but Adam MacDougall has been ruled out.