Schick Hydro Preview: Gold Coast Titans v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Cbus Super Stadium
A Titans-Sea Eagles showdown is not an obvious rivalry given the great ones currently in the game but there is enough feeling between the two camps now to make Saturday's clash at Cbus Super Stadium one full of spice.
While the animosity towards Daly Cherry-Evans and his infamous backflip has two years on dissipated significantly there are enough Titans ties within the Manly camp to provide just that extra piece of motivation.
Former Gold Coast captain Nate Myles is so stubborn that nothing would give him greater pleasure than to get one over his old side – not to mention the fact that Queensland's team for Origin I will be named just 48 hours later.
Then you have Sea Eagles assistant coach John Cartwright, the foundation coach of the Titans, Brenton Lawrence, who made his NRL debut for the Titans at Robina in Round 16, 2011 and rookie Brian Kelly, who was allowed to leave the Gold Coast earlier this year and has since proven himself as one of the game's most exciting young talents.
Manly's chances have been dealt a significant blow with the ankle injury suffered by fullback Tom Trbojevic with his place at the back taken by Matthew Wright, a position he hasn't started in since his time with the Cowboys in 2014.
The Titans have some injury concerns of their own but it has become so commonplace in 2017 that the team barely looks to have batted an eyelid.
Dale Copley has been named on the left wing in place of Dan Sarginson (shoulder) and Leivaha Pulu promoted to the starting team in place of Ryan Simpkins (knee) with Karl Lawton and Nathaniel Peteru added to the bench.
Why the Titans can win: Only two teams in the competition have a winning streak in excess of two games at present and there's no question that after recent wins over the Sharks and Storm that the Titans have the momentum needed to make it four on the trot. Despite a never-ending series of serious injuries Gold Coast have been stable in the key positions over the past month and have scored 76 points in their past two games to take their tally for the season to 248, the most in the Telstra Premiership through 10 rounds. A tidier defensive effort will give them a great platform to record a second straight win over Manly.
Why the Sea Eagles can win: The loss of Tom Trbojevic is massive but the Sea Eagles still have at their disposal the weapons that have made the tasks of their playmakers so much easier this year; they're hard-running forwards. Martin Taupau (167m per game) ripped the Broncos to shreds early on last week and two unlikely stars in Curtis Sironen and Frank Winterstein have troubled plenty of defensive lines with their destructive charges on the edges. The Storm showed how fragile the Titans can be on their edges last week so expect Manly to send plenty of traffic the way of Kane Elgey (43 missed tackles) and Ash Taylor (38)
 Telstra Premiership: Ryan James vs Martin Taupau
All Run Metres, Tackles, Offloads, Tackle Breaks.
The history: Played 15; Titans 6, Sea Eagles 9. Five of the past six meetings between these two teams have occurred on the Gold Coast with the Sea Eagles victorious in three of those. Dating back to their comprehensive 34-14 win in the Titans' second season in 2008, Manly have won five of their nine matches played at Robina although the Titans did record a convincing 30-10 win in Round 16 last season. Cbus Super Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Manly winger Jorge Taufua who has scored six tries in five previous appearances.
What are the odds: The money is coming in at a rate of four-to-one in favour of Manly, and Sea Eagles 13-plus is the most popular winning margin. Sportsbet has surprisingly seen little interest in the Titans off the back of their inspirational win over Melbourne. Dylan Walker and Brian Kelly are the best backed in the first try-scorer market. Latest odds at sportsbet.com.au.
Match officials: Referee: Matt Cecchin; Assistant Referee: Adam Gee; Touch Judges: Clayton Sharpe and David Ryan; Review Official: Ben Galea; Senior RO: Ashley Klein.
Televised: Fox League – Live from 5pm.
NRL.com predicts: There was a lot to like about Manly's performance against the Broncos last week but there's no escaping the fact that they lose a lot of potency being without fullback Tom Trbojevic. The Titans on the other hand have potency all across the park and if their entire backline can actually complete 80 minutes this week they should be able to do enough to go into their first bye with their tails in the air. Titans by eight points.