Gold Coast Titans: The run home...

The boys from the Goldy are going pretty well in 2009, and what’s this? Neither of the co-captains, Scott Prince or Luke Bailey are injured in the run to the finals. Sounds like something special might be brewing on the Gold Coast. <br><br>In a season where all the focus has been on the resurgence of the top two sides, the Titans have quietly snuck up on many a fan, holding down third spot on the NRL ladder and showing they won’t wilt against the big boys after fighting till the end against the Bulldogs in a tight round 19 loss.<br><br>Undefeated at home, you wouldn’t want to play them at Skilled in the finals, but their much maligned away record has improved in 2009 (currently they are 3-6, with their only away win at Olympic Park this year). Their defence is also fifth best in the league and Mat Rogers and Preston Campbell are playing like it’s the turn of the century at Cronulla (which were good times in the Shire as the Sharks made the preliminary final twice and Campbell won the Dally M in 2001).<br><b><br>The Run home:</b> Broncos (H), Cowboys (H), Warriors (A), Rabbitohs (A), Sharks (H) Wests Tigers (H), Sea Eagles (A).<br><br>Two Queensland derbies do not make it an easy run home for the Gold Coast as they look toward their first ever finals appearance and a possible premiership in 2009. Make no mistake - they are good enough to go all the way, especially if they have all key personnel on deck come finals time. This is a team which is going places and are my dark horses for the title.<br><br>Despite those two derbies, the real acid test will be Manly at Brookvale in round 26. The match will have a semi-final feel about it and will gauge how ready the Titans are to play big matches away from the safety of Skilled Park.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:<br>Mat Rogers </b>– If Scott Prince is the king of the Gold Coast, then Rogers is the perfect Prince. When the Titans are playing well it is invariably their talented halves who lead the way. Prince dominating while Rogers plays an understated role. He gives them another option with his kicking and running games and some slight of hand which is rarely seen.<br><br>Simply put - if a team focuses too much on Prince, then Rogers will hurt them. <br><br><b>Nathan Friend</b> - The diminutive rake is not only a rock in defence (having made a whopping 668 tackles this year to be second in the NRL), but he is also a decent try sneak. More importantly for the Titans, he's a master of dominating the ruck in both attack and defence. Watch how quick he gets his team out of dummy half and how well he wrestles in the ruck when his team is defending. He is a key component of this Titans side.<br><b><br>Predicted Finish</b>: 3rd