Marty 'Kapow' next in Titans' sights
Call it a Freudian slip or genuine respect for an opposition big man but Gold Coast forward Ben Ridge believes last Saturday's defensive display against the Rabbitohs has the Titans primed for the man Ridge calls "Marty 'Kapow'".
Since switching from the Bulldogs to join the Wests Tigers last season Martin Taupau has emerged as a cult hero among Tigers fans and taken his thundering efforts from off the bench, all the way to Test caps with the Kiwis and a starting role in Jason Taylor's 2015 team.
With front-rowers Aaron Woods and Keith Galloway also in the middle third of the field the Tigers boast one of the competition's strongest forward packs ahead of their clash with the Titans at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.
Although they have suffered back-to-back losses, the Titans were particularly brave defensively against the big South Sydney pack last weekend who dominated territory and possession.
Ridge made 28 tackles in 64 minutes as the Rabbitohs enjoyed 59 per cent of possession courtesy of the Titans' 65 per cent completion rate and believes their resilience will hold them in good stead against the Tigers.
"The Burgess boys are big boys but I think we handled them pretty well and this week they've got 'Woodsy' [Aaron Woods] who is probably one of the better front-rowers going around at the moment and big Marty 'Kapow' so we've got our hands full this week," Ridge said.
"I thought we defended unreal [against Souths]. I think we ended up doing 90 tackles more than them in the first half and at half-time we were leading so that was very positive.
"We know amongst each other that we are working really hard and to hold out Souths who throw a lot at you, I think we can take a lot out of that into next week.
"We've had a couple of losses on the trot now. We played good on the weekend but didn't get the two points which is pretty frustrating.
"We've really got to go down there with the same sort of attitude and just hopefully hold the ball a bit more and grind out a good win."
The Titans didn't have their line broken until the 23rd minute when South Sydney fullback Greg Inglis crossed for what would prove to be a controversial try.
Although ruled 'no try' by the on-field officials due to an obstruction caused by Rabbitohs half Luke Keary on Titans forward Lachlan Burr, the decision was overturned on the basis that Burr had initiated the contact.
Defending on the right edge for the Titans, Ridge appreciates how the call could have gone either way and said he and his teammates are under clear instructions when they are used as lead runners in attack.
"We've been instructed to take inside shoulders when we're running the lead lines but with that one, it wasn't even like that," Ridge said. "It was just the ball being thrown out the back and players everywhere so it's a bit of a hard one to decide.
"Obviously [an attacking player in the defensive line] blocks a player's view so that's where the obstruction rule comes into hand but the game's played pretty quickly so it's a split decision.
"If someone runs in front of you and you can't tackle the person because 'old mate' has taken you out, then it's pretty simple."