Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans
Sunshine Coast Stadium. Thursday 26th August 7.50pm
To: David Fifita
From: Long suffering Gold Coast rugby league supporters and Queensland league fans in general who would like to see one team from the Sunshine State in the 2021 NRL finals
Cc: The very astute punters who follow Before You Bet
Date: Round 24 of 2021 NRL season – Titans v Newcastle
Re: Fire up, bro!
It’s time, big fella.
This is why you are paid the big bucks - $3.5 millions over three years, to be precise.
The Titans moved heaven and earth to get you to the club to perform in matches like these. The ones that matter. Games that decide whether the Titans stay in the hunt for the finals, or not.
It is between the Gold Coast, Canberra and Cronulla for that last spot in the top eight – you are all on 20 points - so you MUST beat Newcastle at Sunshine Coast Stadium this Thursday night. MUST.
You can worry about knocking over the NZ Warriors in Round 25 next week. As they say in the rugby league classics, just take it one week at a time.
The last time the Goldy played the Knights, you were awesome, Dave. Three tries by the 51st minute in a 42-16 thumping at Robina in Round 5.
You finished with 168 running metres and eight tackle breaks from 12 hit-ups. It was a one-man smash-up. Anybody who saw that performance was thinking, “that’s why he’s on the big coin’’.
But nobody was saying that after last week’s loss to Melbourne. Were they?
Yep, we know the Knights and Storm are two different kettles of fish but 68 running metres from seven hit-ups with one tackle break and zero line breaks isn’t cutting the mustard.
Especially when you are averaging 131 running metres per game in 2021. You also have the most tackle busts and tries for any forward in the game.
Go have a look at yourself in the mirror. You are a massive bloke who is tailor-made to run with a footy under your wing. Now get out there and use a few Knights as glorified speedbumps and lead the Titans to victory.
Moeaki Fotuakia is back to help you out while Kevin Proctor looks like he’ll also be on deck after overcoming a shoulder injury and being named in the second-row.
Sure, the Knights will be tough. They have pretty much wrapped-up seventh spot on the ladder with four-straight wins in the past month, beating Canberra, Brisbane, Cronulla and Canterbury.
They’ve got confidence, momentum and a bloke called Kalyn Ponga. He’s very good. Tackle him. But they will be without the suspended David Klemmer.
The Knights are very beatable, especially if you and the Titans bring your best footy.
With the Broncos and Cowboys already well advanced in their preparations for Mad Monday in a couple of weeks, Queensland needs one club to hang around for September when all the finals games will be north of the Tweed River.
You be the best version of you, Dave.
Total Over 49.5 ($1.90 at Sportsbet)
David Fifita Anytime Tryscorer ($2.63 at Sportsbet)
Jayden Campbell 1st Tryscorer ($14 at Sportsbet)
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Kurt Mann 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Jake Clifford 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Sauaso Sue 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Connor Watson. Interchange: 14. Brodie Jones 15. Chris Randall 16. Josh King 17. Jirah Momoisea. Reserves: 18. Jack Johns 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Phoenix Crossland
1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Beau Fermor 13. Sam McIntyre. Interchange: 14. Erin Clark 15. David Fifita 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Jaimin Jolliffe. Reserves: 18. Toby Sexton 19. Sam Lisone 20. Esan Marsters 21. Greg Marzhew