In-form back-rower Mitchell Aubusson says the Sydney Roosters must frustrate the Gold Coast out of the game on Friday night if they are to progress to next week’s premiership decider.<br><br>Statistics uncovered by NRL.com this week show that the Titans are at their lethal best when allowed to play at break-neck speed, with veteran halves pairing Scott Prince and Mat Rogers running riot on the back of quick play-the-balls.<br><br>The Queensland side ranks second in the NRL for quick play-the-balls (418) and second for metres gained (1398.1 per game) thanks to a relentless pack, with their halves having recorded both the most runs (449) and most run metres (3407) on the back of their fast go-forward.<br><br>The two clubs are one-all in head-to-head clashes this season, with Aubusson singling out the speed of the game as key to shutting down the Titans.<br><br>“Last time we played them they seemed to get a lot of quick roll-ons,” he said of the Titans’ 23-14 win at the Sydney Football Stadium in Round 24.<br><br>“They were very quick… They came with a plan to try and win the first few tackles and it worked for them. <br><br>“In the first game [30-16 win at Skilled Park in Round 12] we seemed to stop that a bit. We really hung in there and got the cash but the second game we fell short so there is a bit of stuff we can work on there.<br><br>“If that’s what they’re banking on it’s up to us to slow them down and get some good wrestle.”<br><br>Much of the talk in the lead-up to this week’s clash has focused on the battle of the halves, with the Gold Coast’s veteran duo facing the Roosters’ new breed – NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce and Dally M medal winner Todd Carney.<br><br>But Aubusson said the effectiveness of Prince and Rogers could be nullified by slowing down the game. <br><br>“They’re a very quick team, and physical as well, so that’s a side of the game you’ve got to look after,” he continued.<br><br>“When [Prince and Rogers] get a roll-on they take the ball and run with it and try to put the defensive line in two minds. <br><br>“It’s up to us to slow those earlier plays down so they can’t do that too much.”<br><br>A win for the Roosters this Friday night would take them to within 80 minutes of completing arguably the greatest turnaround in premiership history, after finishing wooden-spooners only 12 months ago.<br><br>Aubusson himself was a member of the last Roosters outfit to play finals football in 2008 but said the buzz around the club this season was something he had never experienced before as they push for a spot in the grand final for the first time since 2004.<br><br>“Just the fact that they cleaned the whole place out last year – they changed the gym around in terms of the staff and it’s just a completely different place,” he said. <br><br>“There aren’t that many similarities at all to be honest, other than the boys that are still here.<br><br>“Obviously last year was a tough one but the whole place is different and the feeling at the club is amazing.<br><br>“I mean, it’s the furthest I’ve ever been in the NRL and it’s something I’m just going to try and enjoy as much as I can. I’ll try not to get too nervous about it.<br><br>“It would be unreal to play in the grand final but I don’t want to get ahead of myself so I’ll try not to think about that yet.”<br><br>For Aubusson, a grand final berth would also complete his most impressive season to date after he was moved from the centres to his preferred position in the second row when coach Brian Smith arrived at the start of the year.<br><br>“I got a chance to play back row and I feel like I’ve grabbed that with both hands,” he said. “I played all my junior career there and I feel very comfortable. <br><br>“I feel like I read the game a bit better there too than I do centre.<br><br>“But I’ve got a good combination on our edge there, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall, and we have the luxury of swapping around every now and then because he’s a pretty big bloke too – he’s actually bigger than me!<br><br>“So it’s been good and hopefully I can keep improving and cement my spot.”
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