Garth Brennan must have breathed a big sigh of relief after the Titans broke through for their first win of the season last week against Penrith.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect for Brennan was the fact his team came from behind twice and out-played the more fancied Panthers down the stretch for the 30-24 victory.
They rose to the occasion for veteran fullback Michael Gordon's 250th game last week and if they can play with the same passion and commitment every week, more wins should follow.
The Knights have added pressure on themselves with last week's home loss over to Manly and need to try to regain form against a team that won't want to lose that winning feeling.
Match: Titans v Knights
Round 6 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
- LIVE PASS
Titans: In a change announced an hour before kick-off, Moeaki Fotuaika (No.18) moves from the reserves list into the starting side at prop. As a result of that decision, Shannon Boyd drops back to the interchange bench. Keegan Hipgrave and Jack Stockwell were the two players omitted 60 minutes before game time. The loss of prop Jarrod Wallace to a two-week suspension has been tempered by the return of Boyd from hamstring soreness. Ryley Jacks and Jesse Arthurs were omitted on Saturday.
Knights: Connor Watson (No.14) will start at five-eighth, with Mason Lino joining Tautau Moga as the final two players dropped from the squad. Herman Ese'ese takes the place of injured back-rower Aidan Guerra on the bench. Sione Mata'utia and Brodie Jones were cut on Saturday. Newcastle have lost four in a row.
Fullback for Titans is number 1 Michael GordonFullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
Winger for Titans is number 2 Anthony DonWinger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
Centre for Titans is number 3 Tyrone PeacheyCentre for Knights is number 3 Hymel Hunt
Centre for Titans is number 4 Brian KellyCentre for Knights is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Titans is number 5 Dale CopleyWinger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Tyrone RobertsFive-Eighth for Knights is number 14 Connor Watson
Halfback for Titans is number 7 Ashley TaylorHalfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
Prop for Titans is number 18 Moeaki FotuaikaProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch ReinHooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
Prop for Titans is number 8 Shannon BoydProp for Knights is number 10 James Gavet
2nd Row for Titans is number 10 Ryan James2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Bryce Cartwright2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
Lock for Titans is number 13 Jai ArrowLock for Knights is number 13 Tim Glasby
Interchange for Titans is number 14 Phillip SamiInterchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
Interchange for Titans is number 19 Jack StockwellInterchange for Knights is number 16 Daniel Saifiti
Interchange for Titans is number 16 Max KingInterchange for Knights is number 17 Josh King
Interchange for Titans is number 17 Jai WhitbreadInterchange for Knights is number 19 Jamie Buhrer
Bryce Cartwright is gradually silencing his critics, particularly after last week's high impact performance against his former team. Cartwright and back-row partner Kevin Proctor will be looking forward to their all-important clash with Newcastle counterparts Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mitch Barnett.
For the Titans to win
After getting the monkey off their back last week the Titans should be jumping out of their skin to get back on the field and prove their win over Penrith was no fluke. The dark clouds hovering over the club in recent weeks have lifted and Brennan needs to capitalise on the positive vibe that comes with winning. Strong defence will be key, especially on the ever-dangerous Kalyn Ponga.
For the Knights to win
On paper they have most bases covered, but getting several new players to gel and play at a high level on a weekly basis is the challenge facing Nathan Brown and it remains to be seen if he pulls it off. They have to get on top of the Titans forwards and be willing to occasionally throw caution to the wind in attack.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Titans have shown a little bit of late but the injury suffered by AJ Brimson certainly hasn't helped. For Newcastle, David Klemmer needs to recapture his round one form. He needs to tell the boys to jump on his back and let him dominate a match. Knights by 4
Titans Stat Attack
An 85% completion rate ensured the Titans had ample opportunities to score last week and they did just that with a season-high 30 points. Incredibly, the Titans made 67 tackle breaks against the Panthers.
Knights Stat Attack
A quick look at some of the numbers from their first five rounds show why the Knights are struggling. They are last in off-loads and try assists, 15th in tries and 14th in line breaks and post-contact metres. Defensively, only the Panthers and Broncos have missed more tackles.
And another thing ...
Titans coach Garth Brennan might have a big call to make when he selects his team to face the Knights. Ash Taylor copped a knock to his left knee early in the game and was replaced late in the first half by AJ Brimson. Taylor didn't return, as the Titans came from behind to claim their maiden victory of the year. If Taylor is passed fit, it'll be interesting to see which way Brennan goes.