The Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys will square off in the opening game of Round 13 in the AFL this Thursday night. As always, Greg Davis is back to run you through the teams and his maatch predictions as well as giving his best bet for the night below.
Gold Coast Titans vs North Queensland Cowboys
Cbus Super Stadium, Thursday 2nd June, 7.50pm (AEST)
1.Jayden Campbell 2. Corey Thompson 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Sam McIntyre 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 16. Esan Marsters 17. Sam Lisone 18. Aaron Booth 19. Herman Ese'ese 20. Greg Marzhew 21. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 22. Sosefo Fifita
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Brendan Elliot 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Ben Hampton 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Heilum Luki 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Connelly Lemuelu 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Ben Condon 19. Kane Bradley 20. Brendan Frei 22. Riley Price 23. Jake Bourke
THE Gold Coast Titans endured a diabolic derby disaster in the 35-24 loss to Brisbane last Friday night.
The good news is that the Gold Coast only have to wait until this Thursday night to get back out on the park and make amends.
The bad news is that they face the third-placed North Queensland who welcome back the human wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo without their own big units Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Origin duty) and David Fifita (injury).
The Cowboys have four players unavailable due to State of Origin commitments – Valentine Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai and Tom Dearden – while extended Maroons squad members Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Murray Taulagi will be released to play for North Queensland.
Importantly for the Cowboys, their spine is largely intact with fullback Scott Drinkwater, halfback Chad Townsend and hooker Reece Robson all playing while Ben Hampton will do a serviceable job at five-eighth in place of Dearden.
The Cowboys had their six-game winning streak snapped by Penrith last Friday with the Panthers racing to a 16-0 lead at halftime before winning 22-0. North Queensland were well beaten but not disgraced.
The second victory of their six-game winning run was against the Gold Coast in Townsville in Round 7 when the home side claimed a comfortable 30-4 victory.
And it is hard to make a case for the Titans reversing that result at Robina.
Even with the loss to Penrith, the Cowboys would not have lost any confidence in what they have been building this season.
The enviable depth at coach Todd Payten’s disposal means North Queensland will still turn out a top-quality side that is still high of self-belief after providing six players to the extended Queensland State of Origin squad.
Different story at the Titans, though. After leading Brisbane 24-4 at halftime last Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, they conceded 31 unanswered points which included five tries in 21 minutes.
It was a collapse that was ludicrous even by Gold Coast standards which includes giving up two 22-point leads in the past 12 months.
An attempted short kick-off while leading 24-10 turned into disaster with the Broncos returning the kick for a momentum-turning try.
The Titans were shattered post-match. Utterly crushed. The mental scars of snatching defeat from well inside the jaws of victory will take time to heal.
The Gold Coast is guilty of conceding tries in large batches. Once they are on the backfoot, they collapse like a house of cards.
The Cowboys have the forward power and playmaking smarts to put the flimsy Titans defence under pressure. So, points should flow.
North Queensland to win and win well.
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