Right time to play Storm: James
They are the runaway competition leaders through nine rounds of the Telstra Premiership but Titans captain Ryan James believes his side is getting the Melbourne Storm at the best possible time.
Coming out of the Representative Round on the back of two straight wins, the Titans only have to travel an hour up the M1 for their 'away' clash with the Storm who have won seven of the nine matches played between the two teams in Melbourne.
Both clubs have been rocked this week by senior players Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich being embroiled in a drugs scandal following New Zealand's Test loss in Canberra on Friday night and will take the field without the pair on Saturday night.
The first game in the Suncorp Stadium double-header on Saturday night, the Titans' overall record against Melbourne sees them with just five wins from 16 meetings but James is confident Gold Coast have momentum on their side.
Returns from injury in recent weeks of Nathan Peats, Jarryd Hayne and Konrad Hurrell has allowed Gold Coast to notch wins against the Sharks and Knights to move to within two wins of the top eight and instilled belief that they can beat the Storm on Saturday.
"It's probably one of the better times to play them," James told NRL.com.
"They had a lot of their players playing in this rep round and they've had a couple of injuries to some of their key big men up front.
"If you want to face them at any time it's probably now but you can't take them lightly because they're one of the best teams in the comp.
"We need to play like we played in the second half [against Newcastle] and how we played against Cronulla and the Broncos.
"Our last three weeks have been probably the benchmark and we need to take it up against the Storm.
"You can't make any little mistakes against the Storm because they'll take full advantage of it."
Ravaged by injury to start the season, Titans coach Neil Henry could have some selection headaches of a far more welcome kind this week with Agnatius Paasi, Dale Copley and Karl Lawton all possible inclusions from the team that racked up 32 unanswered points in the second half against the Knights in Round 9.
The absence of Proctor will likely open the door for Joe Greenwood to return to the starting side with James firmly of the belief that at full strength they have the team capable of stringing a number of wins together.
"We need to start winning games and the way we've been playing the last couple of weeks shows that we can," said James, who missed the final City v Country clash due to an ankle complaint.
"We had a good chat before training the other day and said that we needed to start a run. 'Haynesy' was part of a team at Parramatta that did it and we've probably got the most players available for selection when we come back to face the Storm.
"It's great that everyone's come back at this one time. Everyone is going to be ready and firing for the Storm game.
"The coaching staff are probably going to have to scratch their heads on who they're going to pick because someone like Karl Lawton has been playing great for us and you have to figure out where you're going to put him in the team.
"We knew we always had the roster to do it, it was just getting everyone back fit and healthy."
Besides Proctor the Titans had six players involved in Representative Round fixtures over the weekend but all came through unscathed and will be available for selection this week.