Titans goal-kickers in Fantasy land
Holden NRL Fantasy coaches with either Kevin Gordon or William Zillman in their squads may be in for an unexpected boost with the Titans facing the prospect of using a fourth-string goal-kicker against the Panthers on Saturday evening.
Coming off the bye and without a win since Round 8, the Titans are in desperate need of the two competition points to maintain pace with the top eight but their success may be reliant on a goal-kicker who has never converted two points in their career.
Neither Gordon nor Zillman has had a kick at goal in first grade in 239 games between them but with the long-term injury to Aidan Sezer, a foot problem that Greg Bird says rules him out of contention and the uncertainty of five-eighth Beau Henry's place in the team, either man could get the call-up.
Maurice Blair has a 100 per cent success rate in the NRL (one-from-one) but coach John Cartwright insists that goal-kicking proficiency won't be a factor at Tuesday's selection meeting.
"We'll pick a side first and then we'll find a goal-kicker if we have to," Cartwright said.
"Kevvie Gordon can kick a goal, he's probably up there; William Zillman can kick a goal so there are a few guys there that can kick goals."
With two points on offer for every successful kick at goal in NRL Fantasy, it will only take a few opportunities from close to the posts for either Gordon or Zillman to give their match average a significant boost.
Heading into Round 13 Gordon is averaging just 16.44 Fantasy points per game while Zillman sits at 11.71 points with a highest score of 24.
The Titans are one of nine teams separated by just two points as we near the halfway mark of the Telstra Premiership and goal-kicking could be vital against a Panthers team with the second best defence in the competition.
Less than two months ago the Titans sat atop the ladder and co-captain Greg Bird – whose goal-kicking suggestion consisted only of "Hopefully not Kevin Gordon" – believes it is the tightest premiership race that he has seen in his 12 seasons in the NRL.
"This is the pivotal part of the season really," said Bird.
"I actually haven't seen a ladder this congested after this many games but at the same time we can either go one way or another.
"The teams in that congestion can fight their way to the top or fall out the back and we don't want to be the ones who fall out the back so we've got to get back on the winning train again and start getting back up there."
With the Panthers flying high on the back of a three-game winning streak and the Titans trying to arrest three successive losses, Cartwright knows the importance of getting one over his old club on Saturday night.
"It appears to be that there's not as large a gap between the top sides and the bottom sides," was Cartwright's summation of the ladder logjam.
"The top sides have been beating each other – outside of the Dogs – but outside that there's probably two points between eight or nine teams.
"It's a bit early to be looking at the ladder but you know if you're winning games you can go from where we are to the top very quickly.
"It's very important for us to go out this week and make sure three losses in a row is only three losses in a row. We need to get back on the winning board and as we know that can lead to more wins down the track."