Kelly's plea: Let us entertain you
Electrifying Titans half Albert Kelly is using the lure of a point-scoring spree to urge Titans fans to get out in big numbers on Sunday, insisting their voices could make all the difference to their 2014 finals aspirations.
Coming off a drought-breaking win over the Rabbitohs, the Titans need to knock over Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday just to keep pace with the top eight and Kelly for one wants to see a significant jump on the average home crowd of 13,637 thus far.
With so many transplanted southerners living on the Gold Coast away teams often find themselves with a decent chunk of the crowd sporting the colours of the visitors but Kelly said with nine games to go they need the locals to stand up and be counted.
"Hopefully the Gold Coast comes out to the games and lifts that crowd up because I think we lack that crowd atmosphere," Kelly told NRL.com.
"If the crowd can get behind us in most of these games in the last run it could help us with our confidence as well. If we hear the crowd singing out 'Titans, Titans' and we're down 10-0, that could give us a nice, good kick and we can put some points on the board and get away with some wins."
Although they have scored six more tries than the Sharks, the rest of the Titans' attacking stats are a horror show that belie their reasonable position on the ladder through 17 rounds.
They are last by a wide margin in line-breaks, last in tackle-breaks and last in try assists yet boast a backline regularly referred to as the quickest in the competition.
William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, James Roberts and David Mead are all speedsters capable of going the length of the field to score a try and Kelly is prepared to put their try-scoring capabilities up against any team in the competition.
"I know for a fact that we can score points, it's just that there are a few areas we need to work on with our defence," Kelly said. "With the likes of James, Kevvie, Meady that can run 90 metres to score a try, I'll back our attack any day."
The other big boost to the Titans' attack is the return of Kelly who is feeling better than he has since suffering a fracture in his left leg in Round 8 against the Wests Tigers.
Kelly somehow backed up a week after receiving the knock to face the Rabbitohs in Round 9 but then missed games against the Broncos and Warriors before returning in Round 13 against the Panthers.
Ongoing complications with the injury then kept Kelly from lining up in narrow losses to the Storm and Dragons before making a 51-minute cameo off the bench in the 14-10 win over South Sydney.
He remains on an extended bench as coach John Cartwright toys with the right combination to face the big Raiders pack but Kelly insists the physical and mental scars have now healed.
"Yes, definitely," Kelly said when asked whether this is the best it has felt since Round 8. "It's coming along very well and if I just keep doing my pre-hab and my recovery I'll be ticking all the boxes to get back playing a lot more minutes.
"It just felt really good [during Thursday's training session], I'm pretty surprised by it actually. I did a lot of box jumps and that doing weights and it pulled up pretty sweet from that and came out did that whole session so pretty happy with the session today.
"I'm pretty sure it's the muscles and the scar tissue around the break. Last week I only did five calf raises compared to the right side where I could do 30 or 40. I did a few today and it felt a lot better.
"I previously broke my other leg at Cronulla and that was supposed to be 6-8 weeks and it ended up being 17 weeks. It does play a bit on your mind and that confidence level and what you need to take into a game, you really need that confidence.
"Because I did it before it kind of played on my mind as well. I had a few weeks off and then played again and hurt it again and then had another few weeks off and I think that was a bit better. I played on the weekend and got through that pretty good."