Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans : Lineups, preview and predictions
Central Coast Stadium, Saturday 26th May, 3pm AEST.
Saturday’s matches for round 12 kicks off with the Roosters hosting the Titans, as they take this home encounter to Gosford. One team will be looking to bounce back with a win, whereas the other will be looking to consolidate on their last match.
The Roosters head into this match on the back of a rather unfortunate loss to the Broncos in Brisbane last week. The Chooks had led 22-16 before the Broncos scored two late converted tries to steal victory from the tricolours. The match was marred by a bizarre sin-binning of Roosters prop Dylan Napa for apparently leading with his head in tackling opposite number, Korbin Sims. Undoubtedly, the Chooks will feel robbed of that match.
Conversely, the Titans snapped a five-match losing streak with a victory at home over the Knights. It was a see-sawing contest that saw the men from the holiday strip seal victory in the dying minutes. This victory not only saw the Titans keep their finals hope alive, but it gave us a glimpse into what the next generation has to offer, as halfback Ash Taylor had his best game in a while, and his teenage halves partner Alexander Brimson had sealed victory with a try.
Undoubtedly, the Chooks will be stung by having lost a match which was essentially theirs for the taking. Therefore, they will be raring to unleash their frustrations on their opponents for this week. The Titans will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive with another win, to consolidate on their victory from last week. Moreover, they will be looking to rub salt into the Roosters’ wounds from last week.
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.
2014 – Round 22 – Sydney Roosters 26 def. Gold Coast Titans 18 at Allianz Stadium.
As can be deduced from the aforementioned recent meetings, the Chooks have been dominant over the men from the holiday strip, winning four of the last five encounters. However, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that in their 16 encounters, both teams are on 8 wins apiece.
This match will be the second match between the two sides in Gosford, with the other match having occurred in 2009, which the Titans won 24-20. Moreover, looking at the overall history of the two sides, the margins have been relatively close, with the average margin being 10.5 points. This demonstrates that despite the contrasting fortunes of the two sides, there is a high level of intensity present in their encounters.
|Sydney Roosters||Gold Coast Titans|
|1||James Tedesco||Michael Gordon|
|2||Joseph Manu||Anthony Don|
|3||Latrell Mitchell||Dale Copley|
|4||Mitchell Aubusson||Brenko Lee|
|5||Blake Ferguson||Phillip Sami|
|6||Luke Keary||AJ Brimson|
|7||Cooper Cronk||Ashley Taylor|
|8||Sio Siua Taukeiaho||Jarrod Wallace|
|9||Jake Friend||Nathan Peats|
|10||Dylan Napa||Ryan James|
|11||Boyd Cordner||Kevin Proctor|
|12||Ryan Matterson||Keegan Hipgrave|
|13||Isaac Liu||Jai Arrow|
|14||Jared Waerea-Hargreaves||Mitch Rein|
|15||Zane Tetevano||Max King|
|16||Kurt Baptiste||Jack Stockwell|
|17||Victor Radley||Bryce Cartwright|
|18||Nat Butcher||Moeaki Fotuaika|
|19||Sitili Tupouniua||Konrad Hurrell|
|20||Eloni Vunakece||Kane Elgey|
|21||Mitchell Cornish||Morgan Boyle|
The facts that matter
I’m sure that I’m not the first to say that the Roosters’ form this season is a vivid contrast to their pre-season status as premiership favourites. As a result of this, the Chooks find themselves precariously placed in 8th position, with the Tigers breathing down their necks on equal points in 9th place. Whilst it can be said that they were rather unfortunate to lose last week, the fact is that they still had 13 men on the field before they allowed the Broncos to level the scores.
Therefore, it shows that they need to be able to close out the tight encounters more often.
The Roosters’ attack is a cause for concern, as they are ranked 9th in the league, having scored only 214 points for the season. It seems rather perplexing when you consider the tricolours have the likes of James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Blake Ferguson, Luke Keary, Cooper Cronk and Boyd Cordner in their ranks (the majority of these being representative players). On the flip side, one factor keeping the Roosters in the top 8 is their defence, as they are ranked 4th in the competition, behind the Dragons, Panthers and Tigers.
Whilst the Roosters have won three matches out of five at home this season, this will be their first match in Gosford for the season. However, their record at Central Coast Stadium is rather alarming. They won their first three matches at the venue against the Northern Eagles, Cowboys and Raiders. However, that last victory against the Raiders in Gosford came in 2005. Subsequently, the tricolours have not tasted victory in any of their matches since, while losing all nine encounters since 2005, against the Knights, Storm, Titans, Broncos, Warriors and Sharks.
After finding themselves placed above the likes of the Storm, Broncos and Cowboys (all of which contain the bulk of elite Queenslanders), the Titans suddenly slid down the ladder on the back of five consecutive losses. Subsequently, the found themselves near the foot of the ladder. However, they were able to halt their alarming run of losses with a thrilling victory over the Knights at home, in which Ash Taylor had a blinder with his running game, while his young halves partner Alexander Brimson scored the match-winning try. In addition, young winger Phillip Sami contributed with a brace of tries.
Whilst the men from the holiday strip have shown us their character in many of their matches, the fact is they find themselves in 13th spot on the ladder. Their attack is one that leaves a lot to be desired, having scored only 204 points, to be ranked 6th worst in attack behind the Eels, Bulldogs, Tigers, Cowboys and Knights. Of greater concern is their defence, as they are ranked 2nd worst in the league behind only the Knights. As such, although their opponents’ attack is not very potent, they can easily exploit any suspect defence, as they demonstrated against the Knights in round 3, and especially with the personnel in their ranks. Moreover, the Cowboys also did just that when they destroyed the Titans in round 7.
As for the Titans’ away form, well this is another area of concern. They have only won a solitary match out of six away from the Gold Coast. That victory came against Their South East Queensland neighbours, the Broncos, on Easter Sunday. Yet if there is anything they will gain confidence from, it’s the fact that they have won five of their nine matches with the Roosters away from home. One of these victories was that solitary match on the Central Coast in 2009, where they won 24-20.
The Roosters will be raring to rip into the Titans, in an attempt to not only unload their frustrations from last week on their opponents but to also solidify their spot in the eight. Moreover, another motivating factor for some of the Chooks’ best players is the fact that State of Origin is only a few weeks away, with the teams yet to be selected.
This is also the case for some of the Titans’ best, as they submit one final audition for a place on the representative stage. The Titans will be looking to consolidate on their victory last week against the Knights with another victory here. Moreover, they will want to keep their slim finals hopes alive. In addition, this match will see Titans fullback Michael Gordon up against his former team. Undoubtedly, MG will be eager to get one up on his former employers.
Therefore, with Origin selection around the corner, we can expect the level of intensity to increase a notch or two. Whilst the Titans’ record against the Roosters is actually quite satisfactory, coupled by the fact that the tricolours have not tasted victory at Gosford since 2005, this writer just feels that the imminent State of Origin selection might be enough to see the Chooks over the line. Roosters by 6.
Will the Roosters get the job done, or could the Titans pull off an upset on the road? Let us know in the comments below.