Titans v Broncos: The final word
An under-strength Broncos travel down the M1 for a Good Friday derby against Gold Coast, seeking to extend their three-match winning streak and end the Titans' winning run at just one.
Here is how the two coaches, Neil Henry and Wayne Bennett, see the game playing out as well as the latest NRL Fantasy and betting information.
Neil Henry (Titans)
On winning at home: "It would be great for the fans and great for our players as well. We've got a little bit of momentum from last week albeit it may have been a little fortuitous but there'll be busloads coming down from the Broncos as well and hopefully we get a big crowd being the Friday night of the Easter weekend. With a one-point loss and a two-point loss I think we were in the [previous two home] games so we need to turn that into a two-point win at some stage."
On injuries to Hodges and Blair: "'Hodgo' is probably a big loss for them but Dale Copley is a big, strong-running centre and was playing some good football previously so he'll be a handful out on that edge. They've got great depth in their side with Garbutt and Dodds to come back into their side that have had experience as well. Obviously with 'Hodgo' out he's a bit of an x-factor the way he carries the ball from dummy-half in particular and being their captain, but we're expecting a real tough game."
On improving their ball control: "We know that the Broncos had a very high completion rate against the Warriors – 88 per cent, they only made five errors in the whole game. That's tremendous and if they turn up here and do the same thing, only have three or four errors in 80 minutes of footy, if we can't match that with our ball control we're going to be tanking with our defence. That's an area of concern for us, we need to be mindful of getting that ball control better."
Wayne Bennett (Broncos)
On the form of five-eighth Anthony Milford: "All I can say is that he's getting better every week so that's all I'm looking for. He's a very talented footballer, it's just going to be a time issue. He's got the ability and the decision-making prowess to be able to be good at that position and he's got a great commitment. He's a really great guy to coach. There's no problems with Anthony here. I'll tell you the biggest mistake [Anthony] can make. If he's trying to please you (the media) he's going to find himself in a fair bit of trouble. If he's trying to please me it won't be even as half as hard. So that's his decision he needs to make – if he wants to please the press or he wants to please me. I'm pleased at the moment."
On selection of Vidot and Garbutt: "State League and the NRL are totally different. The club brought him here because they thought he had the ability to get the job done so he's getting a chance [on Friday night]. He's a bit like Daniel [Vidot] – there's an opportunity to show me what they've got."
On underestimating the Titans: "They've been through hell and back with all the turmoil they've had down there. If you look at their results they've only been beaten once by a good scoreboard (40-0 against the Panthers in Round 2). They've won one and the rest have been by a field goal (Round 1 against Wests Tigers) and by two points (Round 3 against the Knights) against teams that have been going all right. Newcastle are top of the competition right now so we'd be fools to go down there and underestimate what they've got. So that won't be happening."
NRL Fantasy: Coaches will be reeling from the loss of Jordan Kahu – the third most popular player in the game, currently selected in almost 44,000 Fantasy teams – and Justin Hodges, who’s in more than 11,000 teams. Ben Hunt’s price tag has dropped $53,000 this season and he’s good value this week after scoring 67 in Round 4 – thanks in part to a whopping 700 kick metres. At just $137,000, Kane Elgey looms as a great value Fantasy buy – particularly if he holds onto the Titans’ halfback spot for the long haul. Prop Luke Douglas continues to lead the way for the Gold Coast in Fantasy despite the return of star forwards Greg Bird and Dave Taylor, scoring 57 last week to take his weekly average past 50.
Betting (Titans $2.50, Broncos $1.53): Sportsbet.com.au punters are tipping a high-scoring game with three quarters of all bets placed on over 38 points. Lachlan Maranta is easily the best backed for first try-scorer – in fact there's three times the money on him compared to Corey Oates, who's been the second-best backed. In head-to-head betting, it's all the Broncos with the money running 6:1.