Roosters v Titans: Late changes for both sides
Apparently last week's loss to the Broncos was harder for the Roosters to stomach than any other defeat this season – and so it should've been.
They led 22-16 with six minutes remaining and had controlled the game for the previous 15-20 minutes, only for the Broncos to snatch victory with two of the best solo tries of the season.
After that result they should be mad enough and hungry enough to return to the winner's circle this week.
Latrell Mitchell probably cemented a spot in the NSW Origin team with last week's dazzling display and will be looking for more of the same against the competition's worst defensive side.
The Titans eased the pressure slightly with last week's home win over Newcastle snapping a five-game losing streak. They are back on the road this week and will probably have to produce something special to conquer the star-studded Roosters.
Key match-up: Matching the Roosters in the forwards will be a focal point for the Titans and that places a lot of responsibility on the likes of Ryan James, Jai Arrow and Jarrod Wallace to make their collective presence felt. The Roosters clearly have an edge in class in the backs and the Titans will give themselves a good chance if they hold their own up front.
Match: Roosters vs Titans
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
For the Roosters to win: No doubt the Roosters felt last week's loss was the one that got away. If nothing else they would've learned a valuable lesson that should stay in the back of their minds for the rest of their 2018 campaign - no single-digit lead is safe. If the Roosters have their way in the forwards the Mitchells and Tedescos could run riot in the backs.
For the Titans to win: After getting the monkey off their backs with last week's drought-busting win over the Knights, the Titans should be feeling good about themselves. They need to ride that positive vibe and hit the Roosters with everything they can in the first 20 minutes, try to get a lead and force the Chooks to play catch-up.
Roosters stat attack: It might come as a surprise that the Roosters have a terrible record on the Central Coast, losing nine of the 10 games they have played there. On a more positive note the Chooks have won four of their past five clashes with the Titans.
Titans stat attack: Jai Arrow made a welcome return last week against Newcastle, leading the Titans in tackles (40) and run metres (145). Arrow is desperate to play in the Origin arena and his impressive performance wouldn't have gone unnoticed by Maroons selectors.
And another thing: Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary will play his 100th NRL game when he takes on the Titans. Some Rabbitohs fans still haven't forgiven Keary for joining the enemy, but they aren't as steamed up as they once were with the way Cody Walker has been starring for the Bunnies.
Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans, Saturday 3pm at Central Coast Stadium
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 13 Isaac Liu, 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Interchange: 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Kurt Baptiste, 17 Victor Radley, 18 Nat Butcher
Back-rower Ryan Matterson is a late withdrawal. Coach Trent Robinson has moved Isaac Lui to Matterson's spot and made Jared Waerea-Hargreaves the new starting lock. Nat Butcher is on the interchange bench, while Eloni Vunakece was omitted an hour before kick-off. Sitili Tupouniua and Mitch Cornish were cut from the squad on Friday afternoon.
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Brenko Lee, 19 Konrad Hurrell, 6 AJ Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow
Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 17 Bryce Cartwright, 18 Moeaki Fotuaika
Konrad Hurrell has earned a game-day promotion from the reserves to the starting 13, with winger Phillip Sami dropping out. Kevin Proctor's return from a groin strain pushes Ryan James to prop and Max King to the bench. Moeaki Fotuaika has been elevated to the bench at the expense of Jack Stockwell, while Kane Elgey and Morgan Boyle were cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 16; Roosters 8 wins, Titans 8 wins
Matches at venue: Played 1; Titans 1 win
2017 results: Roosters won 32-18 at Cbus Super Stadium in round 1; Roosters won 20-16 at Allianz Stadium in round 26
Points per game: Roosters 19.5; Titans 18.5
Points conceded per game: Roosters 15.3; Titans 26.6
Televised: Live on Fox League
Steve Turner's prediction: Errors and missed tackles really hurt the Roosters last weekend and they will be thinking it was a game that was there to be won. Latrell Mitchell is their strike weapon and the more they keep him involved, the better they will be. Meanwhile, the Titans finally ended a five-game losing streak with a win over the Knights. Ash Taylor was brilliant along with many of their rookies, but it's consistency for the Titans which has been an issue. They need to produce those performances every week and it gets no bigger than this week against the Roosters. The Titans have only won one away game this year and I can't see them making it another on Saturday afternoon.
Tip: Roosters by 8