Titans v Broncos: The final word
There are two Queensland teams sitting inside the top four with three wins from their first four games but few predicted it would be the Gold Coast Titans in such a lofty position alongside the Brisbane Broncos.
Cbus Super Stadium could welcome its biggest crowd in five years on Friday night with the home side bolstered by the availability of captain Nathan Friend and Ryan James but having to make do without five-eighth Tyrone Roberts.
James Roberts plays his first game against his former club and his combination with Anthony Milford showed some incredibly exciting signs last week against the Cowboys.
Here is how the two coaches see the contest along with the latest injury updates and movements in the betting markets.
Titans coach Neil Henry on...
Ryan James being promoted to the starting team: "He's been tremendous off the bench and back to the form that we know he can do on a consistent basis. It's getting the balance there. We could still change that an hour before [kick-off], we could mix that up depending on who we want to start. Some of the difference against sides has been the quality of our bench and we're mindful of not tinkering with that too much."
How to stop the attacking threats possessed by the Broncos: "You just need to stay alert and stay focused and have your eyes up and see where their threats are. Their forwards are very good but it's stopping their danger men too. Milford has been in great form, James Roberts did what we know he can do last week and is a dangerous carrier of the ball, Corey Oates is back in and he was one of their best carriers and that's going to be a handful for our right edge. We've leaked quite a few points this year and some of those tries have been through poor defensive reads or efforts and we've talked about the fact that our individual tackling needs to improve."
Attracting a big crowd to Cbus Super Stadium: "We could have the biggest crowd we've had for a couple of seasons and we hope that's the case. It's a friendly timeslot, hopefully quite a few fans will travel down from Brisbane and it's a big, noisy crowd. We're enjoying the fact that we're in games and competing and we're getting some wins but this is a big test for us."
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett on…
What to expect from the Titans: "You don't win three games out of four without doing some things well. They've got the highest ball control in the competition and are ranked No.1 in that regard. They obviously control the ball well and are giving themselves a chance to win games. They play with a fair bit of spirit and I expect a pretty similar game to the Cowboys."
Coaching against Ashley Taylor: "If we could have kept Ashley then we would have. It wouldn't have been fair to deny him an opportunity at the Gold Coast. I'm pleased for him, he's a talented player."
Possible debut of Cameron Cullen for Titans: "I coached his Dad in 1985 and we won a grand final. I know Cameron, he's a really good player and I'm pleased he has the opportunity because he's certainly worked hard. Everybody speaks highly of him and I'm sure he'll bring enthusiasm and 100 per cent effort to the game on Friday."
Injury update: Bennett has declared Corey Oates, Jordan Kahu and Jack Reed as all 100 per cent fit to take their place in the side, meaning the Broncos will run out 1-17. Kahu wore a neck brace during the captain's run on Thursday morning but will not wear it in the game. Tyrone Roberts (knee) has been ruled out for the Titans but Nathan Friend returns and Ryan James has been found not guilty of a dangerous contact charge and is free to play. After one week in the Intrust Super Cup Eddy Pettybourne is likely to return on the bench but William Zillman is considered only an outside chance of playing his first game for 2016.
Market moves: Brisbane are the best-backed side of the round by a long way according to Sportsbet with 90 per cent of money bet on the game going on the Broncos. Punters are expecting this to be a one-sided contest as far as winning margin is concerned with more money on a Brisbane win by more than 13 points than there is on all of the other options combined. Brisbane winger Corey Oates has been welcomed back by punters who've made him the best backed for first try-scorer with one third of all try-scorer bets predicting him to post first points. Anthony Milford has also been well supported and John Olive is the best backed for the Titans. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.