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Titans vs Eels (Round 3) OFFICIAL MATCH DAY BLOG
Date: Friday 17th of March
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Kick off: 8:05pm (NYC 5:50pm)
Head Referee: Ashley Klein
Assistant Referee: Chris James
Head to head: Played 15, Titans 10, Eels 5
Head to head odds: Eels ($ 1.37), Dragons ($ 3.10)
Broadcast: Live Channel Nine (Broadcast from): 7:30pm
Last four encounters:
01. Titans 34, Eels 14 at Cbus Super Stadium (2016)
01. Eels 22, Titans 12 at TIO Stadium (2016)
02. Titans 24, Eels 14 at Cbus Super Stadium (2015)
03. Titans 38, Eels 16 at Pirtek Stadium (2015)
Preview: This week’s round three Friday night encounter will feature a battle between the Gold Coast Titans and the Parramatta Eels up on the Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium. The Gold Coast Titans enter this match up off the back of two constitutive losses, one to the Sydney Roosters in round one and one last weekend to the Newcastle Knights whom managed to claim their first one in almost one year. Adding in the injuries to former Eels Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Peats you could say the Gold Coast Titans have had a very rough start to the season and are in desperate need of a win. On the other side of the coin we have the Parramatta Eels who fortunes this season have been very different to the Gold Coast Titans, the Eels have started this season with two wins inn two games, the latest one of these wins coming against the St George Illawarra Dragons last Sunday in Wollongong. The Eels made it look easy against the Dragons securing an 18-point victory. Going on form the Eels should come out winners easily in this one however Eels primary playmaker Corey Norman will be absent for this clash, this implication gives the Titans great hope in upsetting the Eels, this clash is sure to be interesting, be sure to tune in anyway you can.
Value Bet: This week’s value bet is for Parramatta Eels winger Semi Radradra to claim the first try; Radradra is at $7.50 to claim the first try (all odds via Sportsbet). As for the first try favorites for both teams the Titans have both Will Zillman and Tyrone Roberts Davis at $12 to claim the first try. As for the Eels their first try favorites are Semi Radradra as mentioned at $7.50 and Bevan French at $9.50.
Interesting fact: This round 3 encounter was meant to mark the first time Jarryd Hayne faced his former club the Parramatta Eels since returning to the NRL last season with the Gold Coast Titans controversially. Instead Goulburn junior product Tyler Cornish will make his debut at fullback.
It will be a big game for: This game is sure to be a big one yet again for Eels five eighth Clint Gutherson. So far this season Clint Gutherson has started the year in outstanding fashion helping the Parramatta Eels to claim a two wins from two matches record. Although in saying this much of Gutherson’s form has been dependent on his halves partner Corey Norman taking a lot of pressure from him. Come Friday night the Eels will be without Corey Norman and this in turn puts a lot of pressure on Gutherson. Jeff Robson a veteran of the NRL is set to partner Gutherson in the halves come Friday night. Robson signed with the Eels last season as a mid season transfer, when it comes to Robson he isn’t the most flashiest player on the world, however he is a very tradesman like player and always does a reasonable job, one could say he is a very reliable fill in for the Eels. Even though Robson is set to partner Gutherson one could argue more pressure would be on Gutherson than Robson given the fact Gutherson is a regular starting half at the Eels. Gutherson we know doesn’t have the strongest kicking game in the NRL, so one could speculate Robson would take some of the kicking duties along with Eels fullback Bevan French. But Gutherson has shown over the last couple of weeks he has the qualities of a leader on the park, Gutherson has a decent passing game and an excellent running game, Gutherson is fast meaning that he only needs half a gap to create a try scoring opportunity, look for Clint Gutherson to take the line on a few times in this match up against the Titans come Friday night.
Danger man: This week’s danger man is Titans prop and captain Ryan James. Despite the Titans losing their first two matches of the season to both the Roosters and Knights, Ryan James himself has had a fairly solid start to the season. James has put in both big efforts and big minutes in the opening two rounds of the season. Over the past couple of years Ryan James has really come of age as a player, he is now the captain of the Gold Coast Titans and it now seems the sky is the limit for someone like James. For the longest time the James has been seen as a future origin player for the NSW Blues, despite being seen as a future origin star James has yet to make his debut for the Blues, given the fact injuries plagued the opening few seasons of his NRL career. However it now seems the injuries are behind James and an Origin debut, depending on form maybe just around the corner. James is very much a danger man for the Eels, he is big, strong and by the looks of things a very hard man to tackle. James often takes more than two men to bring him down taking a hit up, not only that James offers an offload, this offload becomes very deadly given the fact James often attracts a number of players to a tackle. James also has an ability to score tries more often than your average run of the mill props, close to the line James posses a threat to the Eels, the Eels would do well to ensure James is well and truly wrapped up close to line, however in saying this its far easier said than done you could imagine.
Gold Coast Titans (14th coming into the round)
01. Tyler Cornish
02. Tyrone Roberts Davis
03. Dan Sarginson
04. Konrad Hurrell
05. Will Zillman
06. Kane Elgey
07. Ashley Taylor
08. Jarrod Wallace
09. Tyrone Roberts
10. Ryan James (C)
11. Kevin Proctor (C)
12. Chris McQueen
13. Agnatius Paasi
14. Ryan Simpkins
15. Nathaniel Peteru
16. Leivaha Pulu
17. Joe Greenwood
18. Paterika Vaivai
19. Max King
20. Eddy Pettybourne
21. Karl Lawton
Coach: Neil Henry
Late mail: Don’t count out a reshuffle in the Titans backline that may see Will Zillman play fullback.
Parramatta Eels (1st place coming into the round)
01. Bevan French
02. Semi Radradra
03. Michael Jennings
04. Brad Takairangi
05. Josh Hoffman
06. Clint Gutherson
07. Jeff Robson
08. Suaia Matagi
09. Kaysa Pritchard
10. Tim Mannah (C)
11. Manu Ma’u
12. Tepai Moeroa
13. Beau Scott (C)
14. Nathan Brown
15. Daniel Alvaro
16. Rory O’ Brien
17. Frank Pritchard
18. David Gower
19. Marata Nuikore
20. Kirisome Auva’a
21. Siosaia Vave
Coach: Brad Arthur
Late mail: Siosaia Vave has been named on an extended bench and may find himself in the starting 17 come kick off, watch this space.
2 key match ups:
01. Ashley Taylor vs Jeff Robson: The first key match up I would like to highlight for this encounter will feature as a battle between the halfbacks as Titans young gun Ashley Taylor squares off against Eels fill in tradesman Jeff Robson. If you don’t include the one game Ashley Taylor played for the Brisbane Broncos in 2015 against the Melbourne Storm this marks Ashley Taylor’s second year in the NRL. At the start of 2016 it was expected that Taylor was at least a couple years off making it full time as an NRL first grader, however in the pre season of 2016 regular incumbent Titans halfback at the time Kane Elgey suffered a season ending ACL injury and that left the Titans in search of a halfback that could help steer them through the 2016 season and after a month or so of searching the Titans decided to take a punt on recently acquired rookie Ashley Taylor, it was expected that Taylor would struggle to a degree given the fact the Titans looked to be one of the weaker rosters before the start of the 2016 season, not only that Taylor only had one game’s experience in the NRL. But even though the odds were stacked against him Taylor proved all the critics and naysayers wrong by putting in a few stellar rounds at the start of the 2016 NRL season. Taylor went onto have an impressive 2016 season even playing a major hand in steering the Titans to the 2016 NRL finals series. Given Taylor’s impressive season in 2016 the Titans decided to stick with Taylor as their first string halfback even when Kane Elgey was ready to return from injury, Elgey would go onto play five eighth whereas Taylor would play halfback. This meant five eighth for the most part of the 2016 season Tyrone Roberts would not be in the halves for 2017, as a result Roberts is now playing hooker in the absence of former Parramatta Eels hooker Nathan Peats. Taylor’s start to the 2017 NRL season itself hasn’t been too impressive although in saying that the Gold Coast Titans as a team haven’t been too impressive thus far this season. Although many know Taylor is a young player with talent in bucket loads, come Friday night he will most definitely be a danger man for the Eels, Taylor even at his young age possesses one of the games most dangerous attacking kicking games, the Eels back three will do well to be weary of the boot of Ashley Taylor. Given Taylor’s strong kicking game this could be a real test for rookie Eels fullback Bevan French. Now moving onto Eels tradesman like halfback Jeff Robson who this week has the enormous task of filling in for Eels superstar Corey Norman, Norman so far this season has been arguably the games most dangerous player in attack. That may seem like a massive complement for Norman however in the two games the Eels have played this season Norman has been the best on the park, the Eels will most certainly miss his presence, but Jeff Robson has proved himself in the past to be a reliable replacement if called upon. Come Friday night one could speculate Robson job will be to guide Clint Gutherson to steer the Eels around the park, not only that but to take some pressure off Gutherson himself by taking control of most of the Eels kicking duties.
02. Konrad Hurrell vs Michael Jennings: The second key match up I would like to highlight for this Friday night encounter will feature as a battle of the centers as the Titans man mountain Konrad Hurrell prepares to face off with Eels speedster Michael Jennings. Much like most of the Titans players over past couple of weeks Konrad Hurrell hasn’t been overly impressive, however as I mentioned earlier I believe this is because the Titans team as a whole hasn’t been too impressive. When talking in context about this very point in the season I wouldn’t read too much into form, more or so save judgment until at least five rounds of the season have been completed. Hurrell is definitely a player that possesses a certain x factor; Hurrell is one of these players that have the ability to score a try from just about anywhere on the field. Hurrell is one of the games most intimidating centers and no doubt some opposing players would fear him to a degree, not to mention the fact Hurrell stands 183cm tall and weighs in at 105Kg making him not too unlike your run of the mill prop in the modern game. Except imagine a prop as fast as your average winger, then you have Konrad Hurrell. Hurrell started his NRL career at the New Zealand Warriors back in 2012 and straight away made an impact, scoring try after try in game after game. Although Hurrell’s success at the Warriors would be short lived to a degree as Hurrell spent a few years in and out of the Warriors first grade squad and after just over three years in the Warriors NRL squad the Warriors would decide to part ways with Hurrell. This made Hurrell a free agent and it wasn’t long before the Gold Coast Titans secured the behemoth’s signature. The change of clubs has since done Hurrell good, as he has been one of the Titans best performers over the past year and a bit. Hurrell much like the elite of your modern day centers know how to score a try and attract multiple defenders to a tackle in order top potentially create an overlap/try scoring opportunity. The Eels will do well to be very weary each time Hurrell has the ball in hand. Now moving onto Eels speedster Michael Jennings who has had a very impressive start to the 2017 season. Jennings was solid in the Eels round one win against the Sea Eagles but it was the Eels win against the Dragons in which Jennings truly excelled. Jennings played a part in a number of Eels tries and his fair share of great runs and meters. But it was one pass that put in Eels winger Semi Radradra for a try that caught most people’s eyes. That pass was a variation between a tunnel ball pass and tennis like tweener shot, nevertheless it looked amazing and was very effective in putting Eels Semi Radradra in for one of his four tries. With Corey Norman out of this clash one could argue that Jennings is the Eels biggest strike weapon next to fullback Bevan French. If the Eels are to defeat the Titans come Friday night one would imagine Jennings being feed plenty of early, good ball would be a high priority. Jennings is amongst the games fastest players and in a foot race he would have most of his opposition numbers covered, whether it be Konrad Hurrell or Dan Sarginson who is tasked with marking Michael Jennings they would want to be on guard because if they’re not Jennings may very well make them look stupid.
My tip: As I like to do I will keep my tip for this one short and sweet. I think the Eels will make it three from three to start the season. The Eels will be without star halfback Corey Norman, however the Titans line up is riddled with injuries, most notably to star fullback Jarryd Hayne and front line hooker Nathan Peats. I expect the Eels to be too strong here. Eels 22, Titans 12.
Man of the match: Bevan French or Michael Jennings.
Enjoy the game, GO THE EELS !!!
And thats fine mate, people take losses differently and venting on an internet forum is hardly the crime of the century our esteemed fan BP seems to think it is.
Longy, very true, Tep is a player we need to sign long term sooner rather than later. Mannah is without doubt an integral and vital part of the team, they simply are not the same without him on the paddock and it once again showed last night.
While the Titans scored a good win last night and their forwards dominated, the young prop Green something refused to come off even though the trainer kept at him, that is a determination and spirit we really left at Mascot when boarding the flight to the GC, same with McQueen he showed his worth in the forwards and centers as well.
Overall if I was picking the team, and depending on the judiciary this week, I would largely leave the team as it is but take a serious look at the Wenty game tomorrow, I am certainly thinking that there are few too many old players in the side, and no matter how well and big a heart that Robbo has, I think he has played his last NRL game, need a change there, and shows methinks the likelihood in the need area.
Gutho did ok and his goal kicking good. Taka, what on earth, or where on earth was he after that great bust he seemed to have gone to Rio, Hoffman needs to seriously pick his game up as well, in fact he actually looks too small for NRL.