'Ugly' Titans embracing underdog tag
It has been described by former NRL coach Matt Elliott as a match-up comparable to the celluloid battle between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, and Titans hard-man Greg Bird said he and his team will embrace the underdog tag yet again.
In this week's episode of 'The Breakdown', Elliott dissects the attacking styles of both teams but opens up by going all Hollywood, likening the "tough, ugly" Titans "that never go away" to Rocky Balboa and the "razzle-dazzle" of the Broncos to that of Apollo Creed.
Like Rocky, the Titans are given little hope of knocking off a true heavyweight contender but it's a position Bird says the team has become comfortable in this season.
"I've pretty much felt like an underdog all year round," Bird said on the eve of the all-Queensland elimination final on Friday night.
"No one expected us to make the semis, no one expects us to go to Suncorp and get a win so I'll take the underdog tag and hopefully we can surprise a few people.
"I'd probably liken our own style of football as pretty tough and ugly.
"We've ground out a lot of games this year, we've given up leads and found ways to fight back into the game and win by a couple of points.
"If we can play a similar game and win by a couple of points I'll be very happy."
With eight previous appearances at Suncorp Stadium representing New South Wales against Queensland, Bird is one of the few Titans players who know what to expect on Friday night.
A hostile reception from the majority of the expected 45,000 fans awaits the Titans as the attempt to pull off the biggest upset of Finals Week 1 and Bird knows there is only one way to react if the Titans are to be victorious.
"You can take it one of two ways," said Bird, whose last finals appearance was the 2010 Preliminary Final.
"You can go into your shell and be a little bit intimidated or you can use it as energy to inspire you to go out and prove the haters wrong.
"I'll be trying to build that mentality amongst our boys and go out and surprise a few people.
"You've got to start well, you've got to start physical and hopefully our boys led by big 'Dark' (Ryan James) up front and I'd like to think I'm not too far behind, hopefully we can fight a little bit of fire with fire.
"They're not going to die wondering. Sammy Thaiday's been a massive leader for them and he plays an aggressive style as well. I'm sure it will be a good battle in the middle."
The craving by Titans fans for a return to finals football was evidenced by the crowd of 530 people who turned out at Cbus Super Stadium on Tuesday to watch the team train.
It's been a rocky road for supporters on the Gold Coast the past six years both on and off the field but Bird is confident that they have once again got a football team they can be proud of.
"We're playing a consistent brand of football that the town can be proud of," said Bird.
"Recently we've signed a few big-name players which people want to come and see and we're in the semi-finals.
"We're starting to grind our way back into the community in a positive light and we've seen that with the crowds we've been pulling here on the Gold Coast the last few weeks.
"This whole week has been exciting, making the semi-finals, the media, the hype that comes with being at the pointy end of the season, it's something that has been foreign.
"Everything new that is happening this week is hopefully going to get the boys up for a big game.
"Hopefully we can go up there and make the guys proud."
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