Mead turns to brains over brawn
Familiar with the prospect of facing foes who are physically superior, Titans winger David Mead says the Titans have spent the week studying up on Penrith tearaway Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ahead of Saturday's clash in Bathurst.
All three Wests Tigers tries against the Titans in Round 1 came down the right-hand side of the Titans defence with Pat Richards scoring twice and James Tedesco carrying centre James Roberts across the line for the third.
The assignment for late call-up Anthony Don and Josh Hoffman this week is similarly imposing, going up against centre Jamal Idris and Watene-Zelezniak on Penrith's left edge, a combined 10 centimetres and 23 kilograms more than the Titans pair.
Mead said that it was vital for the side to study up on the second-year Panther, who scored two tries in their win over the Bulldogs despite not having any trial time behind him.
"You've got your wingers who are a lot bigger, strong and fast, so you've got to look at the attributes of their game and do a bit of homework on them, see what their strengths are and try and work around that," Mead told NRL.com.
"Positionally you look at what sort of plays they're throwing at you. Who is running out the back, who is running out the front and you've got to time which guy to take when the ball is in the air."
The architect of Penrith's left-edge attack is five-eighth Jamie Soward and Mead said that it is integral for he and Roberts to understand his pet plays, the attacking structure he will establish and how best to shut it down before the big boys get too much momentum.
"We've got Jamie Soward on our side so obviously you're watching him to see what he does and react off that," said Mead, who will play his 109th game for the Titans on Saturday.
"We saw a bit of video [on Wednesday morning] but it's more the shape that Jamie Soward throws at you.
"[Watene-Zelezniak] is obviously a good finisher and big and strong so you've just got to make sure you get up in front of him and make sure he doesn't get too much of a run up.
"[James and I] have played a couple of games together and the communication is there.
"The talk's good, obviously we're still trying to build the combination out wide there. We didn't really get much ball down the other end so hopefully we get a bit more this week."
Both Mead and fellow Titans winger Kevin Gordon noticeably increased their number of runs from dummy-half against the Wests Tigers in an attempt to wear out the big Tigers forwards in the middle of the ruck, Mead was credited with 25 dummy-half metres and Gordon 29.
Gordon has been replaced by Anthony Don this week after suffering a broken nose at training on Wednesday and Mead said it will again be important for he and Don to take some of the pressure off the forwards.
"It is part of the winger's job these days," said the 26-year-old who will become a father for the first time towards the end of the season.
"Your forwards are doing a lot of defending and teams are targeting going through the middle and the big guys get tired, so you've got to try and help them as much as you can by trying to get as many carries as possible.
"The Wests Tigers had a lot of big guys up the middle and when they make a couple of tackles in a row they obviously get tired so having speedy guys around them is very dangerous.
"That's something we'll have to do against Penrith as well, they're sort of a big side, not too big, just got to make sure they get tired."