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13 Jul 2018

Gold Coast Titans vs Sydney Roosters: Lineups, preview and predictions

Gold Coast Titans vs Sydney Roosters: Lineups, preview and
predictions

Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday 15th July, 6:30pm AEST

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Overview

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Recent meetings 

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Selected teams

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The facts that matter

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Prediction

Overview

Round 18 concludes with this Sunday evening clash between the Titans and the Roosters, taking place on the Gold Coast. Whilst one team is coming off a bye, both teams are coming off losses from their most recent respective matches. One is coming of an absolute pummeling from their local rivals, whereas the other saw their winning streak ended by the narrowest of margins. 

The Titans head into this match on the back of an absolute hammering from local rivals, the Broncos at home. Although they were missing key forwards Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow, there were enough key personnel in their ranks to at least give the Broncos a shake, given they too were without players due to Origin duty. This meant they were unable to build on their win over big brother earlier this season. Moreover, this latest defeat by the men from the holiday strip did their slim finals chances no favours whatsoever. 

For the Roosters, they come off a bye from last weekend. However, prior to that, they saw their four-match winning streak brought to a halt, courtesy of a 9-8 loss to the Storm in Adelaide. This meant that, despite his best efforts, halfback Cooper Cronk was unable to lead them to victory over his old team. Moreover, not helping the tricolours' cause was a sin-binning, as well as a missed penalty goal attempt from directly in front. 

Both teams will be desperate to win for differing reasons. The Titans will not only be desperate to atone for their embarrassment from last week but will want to keep their flickering finals hopes alive. On the other hand, the Roosters will want to put their latest heartbreak behind them, and return to the winners’ circle. Furthermore, they will want to boost their top four chances, with a victory here. 

Recent meetings 

2018 – Round 12 – Sydney Roosters 34 def. Gold Coast Titans 14 at Central Coast Stadium.

2017 – Round 26 – Sydney Roosters 20 def. Gold Coast Titans 16 at Allianz Stadium.

2017 – Round 1 – Sydney Roosters 32 def. Gold Coast Titans 18 at Cbus Super Stadium

2016 – Round 10 – Gold Coast Titans 26 def. Sydney Roosters 6 at Cbus Super Stadium

2015 – Round 16 – Sydney Roosters 20 def. Gold Coast Titans 10 at Allianz Stadium.

The Roosters have been the dominant side in their most recent encounters with the Titans, winning four of the last five matches. Their most recent match in Gosford saw the Roosters put a halt to their horrendous run of losses on the Central Coast, winning their first match there since 2004. Although the Roosters have been largely dominant in their recent meetings with the Titans, the men from the holiday strip actually have a fairly good record against the tricolours, even though they trail in the overall count. 

As such, the overall record reads 9 wins to the Roosters, and 8 wins to the Titans. Moreover, apart from their most recent encounter, the Titans have come relatively close to the Roosters, whenever they have lost to them. Affirming this fact is the average winning margin of the Roosters over the Titans, which is exactly 12 points. In fact, the average overall margin between the sides is just over 11 points, suggesting that matches between the teams have not really seen one team dominate the other outright. 

Selected teams

Gold Coast Titans Sydney Roosters
1Michael GordonJames Tedesco
2Anthony DonDaniel Tupou
3Konrad HurrellLatrell Mitchell
4Brenko LeeJoseph Manu
5Phillip SamiBlake Ferguson
6AJ BrimsonLuke Keary 
7Ash TaylorCooper Cronk
8Jarrod WallaceJared Waerea-Hargreaves
9Nathan PeatsJake Friend
10Ryan JamesSio Siua Taukeiaho
11Kevin ProctorNat Butcher
12Keegan HipgraveVictor Radley
13Jai ArrowIsaac Liu
Interchange
14Mitch ReinZane Tetevano
15Moeaki FotuaikaLindsay Collins
16Will MatthewsMitch Aubusson
17Jack StockwellKurt Baptiste
Reserves
18Morgan BoyleMatthew Ikuvalu
19Leilani LatuSitili Tupouniua
20Kane ElgeyRyan Matterson
21Brendan ElliottSean O'Sullivan
22Jai WhitbreadPaul Momirovski
23Poasa Faamausili

The facts that matter

Titans 

As stated earlier, the Titans were pummeled by the Broncos, 34-0 in last week’s south-east Queensland derby. The absence of key forwards, Jai Arrow and Jarrod Wallace to Origin were apparent, as they were absolutely destroyed in the metres gained department by big brother, labouring for only 1225 metres. Moreover, they did themselves no favours with their appalling completion rate, completing only 63% of their sets. Prior to that match, the Titans would have been feeling rather confident of doing the double over their local rivals, having defeated them on Easter Sunday.

The men from the holiday strip have the fifth worst attacking record, scoring only 296 points for the season. Only the Tigers, Eels, Cowboys and Bulldogs have scored fewer points this season. Moreover, they possess the second worst defence with 401 points conceded, behind only the Knights, who have conceded 444 points. Thus, the Titans have the third worst points differential, with -105. On the evidence of last week’s heavy loss to the Broncos, it’s easy to see why that’s the case.

That demolition by big brother saw the Titans slip to a home record of three wins and four losses. They will be out to atone for that win a win here. The assignment this week is no easier, with the Roosters being their opponents. It’s a must win match for the men from the holiday strip as a loss here will effectively consign them to another season without finals football. They will be boosted by the return of Arrow and Wallace from Origin. 

Roosters

The Roosters had the week off last week, courtesy of a bye. However they were eclipsed by the Storm 9-8 in Adelaide in the weekend prior to that, courtesy of a Cameron Smith field goal. As a result of that defeat, their four match winning streak would be brought to a heartbreaking end. Moreover, they missed the chance to sneak into the top four prior to the bye. Former Storm playmaker, Cooper Cronk had two field goal attempts charged down by Ryan Hoffman, while centre Latrell Mitchell had a chance to put the Chooks in front and potentially win the match with a penalty goal, but his attempt hit the upright and bounced back into play. Moreover, the sin-binning of Victor Radley proved crucial, as the Storm scored their only try in that period. 

The tricolours have been known for their miserly defence, and this season is no exception, as there is no-one better in this facet of the game, having only conceded 227 points. Conversely, they are ranked seventh in attack, scoring 322 points for the season. However, they have a very solid points differential of 95. All of the aforementioned were evident in their recent match against the Storm. Although the Chooks have not scored as many points as they would like, there are a multitude of attacking weapons within their ranks. However, with the finals approaching, the Roosters will want to rectify their error count, as they have made more errors than any other team, with 192. In addition, they have made 76 handling errors, behind only the Storm. Moreover, they have made more ineffective tackles than any other team, with 297. 

The Chooks have an away record of four wins and three losses, which is one of the better ones of the competition. A victory in this match will go a long way towards boosting their top four chances, given the dogfight for that coveted spot in the top four. Moreover, a win is likely to set them up nicely for the remainder of the regular season, as four of next seven games after this one are away. For this match, they will be without the services of skipper Boyd Cordner, while Cooper Cronk’s availability remains uncertain, given the impending birth of his child. In addition, James Tedesco has indicated that he may not take part in this match, due to his participation in State of Origin last Wednesday. 

Prediction

Both teams are coming of last start losses, with the Titans coming off a heavy loss to local rivals, the Broncos. The Roosters are coming of a heartbreaking one-point loss to Premiership rivals, the Storm. Regardless of the ladder position of these two sides, the result generally tends to be rather close whenever they encounter each other in a match. Given that both sides are desperate for a win for varying reasons, the final margin is expected to be relatively close. 

The Titans will be desperate to win this match to not only atone for their last start heavy home loss, but also to keep their slim finals hopes alive. A loss here means the men from the holiday strip can bid farewell to finals participation in 2018. For the Roosters, they will want to put their latest heartbreak behind them as soon as possible. They will have used the week of to rest and recuperate, in order to focus on forcing their way into the top four. Most of their remaining away games will be away from home, therefore a win here will set them up nicely for the run home. 

The Titans will have Jai Arrow and Jarrod Wallace backing up from Origin to help rescue their flickering season. Conversely, the Roosters will have Latrell Mitchell backing up from Origin duties, to take the field against the Titans. However, there is no certainty that Cronk will take the field, due to his wife being ready to give birth. Moreover, Tedesco has indicated that he may sit this match out, while captain Cordner appears set to take the rest, after a gruelling third Origin match. 

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Roosters’ final lineup for the match, I feel they have more than enough strike power in their ranks to be able to account for the Titans. Moreover, although the Titans will be desperate to keep their slim finals chances alive, there is too much inconsistency about them, to be able to sustain a run of form. The Roosters are also desperate, in that they will want to continue their push for a top-four berth. There is more consistency about them, and I feel that their consistency should see them over the line in this match. Roosters by 6

Can the Roosters stick to the form guide and beat a struggling Titans, or could the home side pull off an upset and grab a handy win? Let us know in the comments below.