The NRL Finals are finally here and despite having one less game, this Saturday evening promises to be super! With COVID impacting scheduling and locations, the NRL has chosen to host a double-header in Townsville. The first game will kick off with an Elimination Final between the Roosters and Titans. Only just scrapping into the finals, the Titans will want to prove that they are not just ‘making up the numbers’. Check out our preview and tips for the big clash below!
If you would prefer to digest your NRL preview in podcast form then tune into this week's edition of the BYB podcast where Scooby brings us a full preview of the NFL finals action this weekend!
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Saturday 5.40pm (AEST)
The Roosters bounced back from a 42-point defeat in Round 24 to finish the regular season with a win. In what appeared to be a tricky opponent, the Roosters were pressured by the Raiders early but once they found their groove, easily accounted for their opponents 40-16. They did this by controlling possession (56%) and having a better completion rate (72% v 59%). They also powered their way over the Raiders with 644pcm’s (177m more than their opponents), 7 line breaks and averaging 9.6m per carry. Their power was impressive to say the least and they will be further boosted by key players returning to their side.
The Titans had to wait until the second last game of the regular season to book their place in Week 1 of the Finals. With other results going their way, they needed an 11-point victory to extend their season. Not too many people saw the 44-nil flogging of the Warriors which followed, coming. They have promised so much all season, only to leave their fans disappointed and confused. Hope was certainly restored after that effort, as they proved that they are capable enough if they perform well. In that result, they dominated possession (61%) and completed at 77%, carried the ball strongly (10.2m per carry), had a massive 708pcm’s, 9 line breaks and missed just 15 tackles. While the quality of their opponent is rightly questioned, there is little more the Titans could do in their match. Now, it is a different ball game with elimination facing the loser and previous history or achievements in 2021 may not count for anything.
Head-to-Head = Roosters 13 Titans 8
At Queensland Country Bank Stadium = Roosters 100% Titans 50%
Last 10 matches = Roosters 9 Titans 1 – The average winning is 13.7 points for the Roosters and 20 points for the Titans. The Roosters were successful over the Titans 35-34 back in Round 14.
Despite making the Finals, the Titans have dramatically underperformed this year. Their defence is questionable at best, and it was their attack which largely impacted their points differential; they conceded more points than the two sides below them on the ladder. The common comment this year about the competition is that the Top 6 teams are well ahead of the rest. This game should be treated no differently. The Roosters are a quality team and even with their extreme injury toll, they are more than capable to perform to a high standard. They also have some big-name players returning in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Victor Radley; their presence strengthens their pack in the middle.
The potential of the Titans produces excitement, but you would be investing on hope more than anything. If the Titans were to cause an upset, they would need to produce a faultless display and rely upon the Roosters to be off their game. If we have come to learn anything from the Roosters this year, it’s that they should not be doubted. The Titans will put up a fight early, but their defensive unit will struggle to halt the Roosters momentum. By that stage, the Roosters should run away with the victory and cover the line. On that option, it fits nicely into the Roosters average win margin (19.9 points) and the Titans average loss margin (17.8 points).
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