R19 v Titans: RCG's Century & A Seven-Year Hoodoo

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Reagan Campbell-Gillard celebrates his 100th game for the Eels on Saturday night against the Titans at CBUS Stadium in their 26th NRL clash.

Des Hasler's resurgent Titans are seeking 3-straight wins when when they face the struggling Eels facing 5-straight losses in their season from hell.  The Eels have won just one from their last ten games.

The Titans had a dominant victory over the Warriors the previous week (66-6) and a tense last Friday night win over the Sharks (20-16) in Coffs Harbour.

Due to Origin, the Eels will be without their halfback general Mitchell Moses while the Titans will be without their gun bookend Moeaki Fotuaika. But, they're in luck as somehow David Fifita has been overlooked once again by Queensland coach Billy Slater.

The Eels have had the wood over the Titans over the last five years, but recent form sees the Titans as hot favourites to continue their winning run and break a seven year hoodoo against the Eels. 

 

Teams

Date: Saturday 13 July 2014, 5:30pm AEST
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Referee: Todd Smith
Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Bunker Review Official: Peter Gough
Sportsbet: Titans $1.44 , Eels $2.80 (Tuesday 6pm AEST)
Weather: Cloudy, but rain unlikely

Titans: 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Beau Fermor 5. Jojo Fifita 6. Jayden Campbell 7. Kieran Foran 8. Josiah Pahulu 9. Sam Verrills 10. Erin Clark 11. David Fifita 12. Klese Haas 13. Chris Randall 14. Isaac Liu 15. Jacob Alick-Wiencke 16. Keenan Palasia 17. Phillip Sami 18. AJ Brimson 19. Joe Stimson 20. Tanah Boyd 21. Iszac Fa’asumaleaui 22. Jaylan De Groot. Coach: Des Hasler

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Jake Tago 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Blaize Talagi 5. Lorenzo Mulitalo 6. Dylan Brown 7. Daejarn Asi 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Brendan Hands 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Matt Doorey 13. Charlie Guymer 14. Matthew Arthur 15. Shaun Lane 16. Luca Moretti 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Makahesi Makatoa 19. Isaac Lumelume 20. Joey Lussick 21. Morgan Harper 22. Wiremu Greig  Interim Coach: Trent Barrett

 

For the Eels, the hits keep coming. Paolo joins Hopgood out for the season, along with long term injuries to Sivo and Simonson. It's forced some changes and blooding youngsters. Moretti comes into the 17.  Guymer the Great starts at lock (a potential Supercoach option).  Asi comes in for Origin-bound Moses.

Lorenzo Mulitalo, brother of Sharks flyer Ronaldo, will be the second debutant on the wing for the Eels in as many weeks after Jake Tago was blooded against the Rabbitohs.

That's six debutants for the Eels over the last few months since round three: Sanders, Talagi, Matt Arthur, Tago, Mulitalo, Guymer with the bulk coming from the 2023 SG Cup winning squad - and a few more waiting in the wings.

For the Titans, they welcome back the dangerous Jayden Campbell at five-eighth (from hand injury) with AJ Brimson (groin) at 18th with an outside chance of playing. Klese Haas also returns from injury (foot). Somehow, the Maroons svw overlooked the powerhouse dangerman David Fifita.

 

Stats:

  • They Eels have won 8 of their past 9 games against the Titans
  • The Eels last lost at CBUS against the Titans seven years ago in 2017 (R3)
  • The last four encounters since 2022 between the Eels and Titans have been nail-biters decided by 1 to 6 points (W25-24, L26-24, W26-20, W32-28)
  • The Eels have won 1 from 8 without Moses this year.
  • Titans winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira has scored 4 tries in two games against the Eels.
  • Winger Blaize Talagi has scored a try in his last 7 games for the Eels.
  • The Titans have not won 3-straight in three years since 2021 (R19-21).
  • The Eels are staring at 5-straight losses for the second time this year; the first time since 2018 and the only two times in almost thirty years since 1995.


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CBUS Home and Away Woes: a Seven-Year Hoodoo

The Titans have stuggled at CBUS (above), at home, this year while the Eels have struggled outside Commbank.

The Eels have only won 1 of their last 11 games (8%) outside Commbank since mid-last year and have not won one game outside Commbank in 2024.

Meanwhile, the Titans have also struggled at CBUS at home: They’re only won 2 of their past 7 games (29%) at Cbus.

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The last time the Eels lost to the Titans at CBUS in seven years since R3, 2017. Hayne was it the Titan’s jersery but sidelined.

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 A then youthful Gutherson is the sole reminder of that game, seven years ago.

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A montage produced by the Eels club.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard set to play his 100th game for the Eels. The prop played 114 first-grade games for the Panthers before joining the Eels in 2020 and will become only the 32nd player in premiership history to reach a century for two clubs. A rare feat.

 

The Future: Full Of Hope,  Uncertainty, & Love For Baz

Earlier today, both captain Clint Gutherson and Eels' Centurion RCG spoke to the media about the mielstone, the Titans game and the future ahead.

On his milestone, Campbell-Gillard was modest and humble: "I only found out about it yesterday."

"I wouldn't say it's an important one, but it's nice to get a little milestone."

"We've got nine weeks to finish off the season on a high. And then get away from football. Once he's here [Jason Ryles], we can start knuckling down."

 

Eels' Senior Group: We love Baz

Earlier today, Gutherson, like Moses and Lane, expressed hope that the Eels would keep Barrett in light of Ryles appointment as the next head coach.

"It would be great to keep Baz around. He's been great for us the last two years.” Gutherson told reporters.

"I'd love to have Baz around. But, it's out of my pay grade."

"The way he's handled the last few months, shows the kind of person he is." Gutherson exclaimed.

“I think with the cards that Baz has been dealt since coming in, and the job that he's done for us, all the boys love him, and we've all got the utmost respect for him,” Moses said.

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Moses credits his outstanding form over the last two years to Barrett.

 

“I know personally with my game, he's been massive for me and to even be in this arena I've got to thank him a lot for that, so hopefully he stays on," Moses told reporters as reported on nrl.com.

“He's helped me so much in the last few years with my game and how to play in the halves, and control games, and things like that.

“Obviously we haven't been getting the results as a team, but personally, for my game, I probably wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him in the last few years, so I've got to thank him a lot for that.”

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Gutho: Lomax in no doubt

Gutherson also laughed off rumours Lomax was having hesitations.

"I don't think there was any hesitation from Zac [Lomax]. He's been calling me weekly about footy and talking. So, I don't think there is any hesitation there," Gutherson pointed out with a smile.

"He's just looking forward to a change."

"I think even with Mitchy in Origin camp, he's been stuck to him. So, he's a great player and we're looking forward to having him."

"I don't think there was ever any doubt about him coming."

 

Ryles excitment factor

On the incoming head coach, current Storm assistant Jason Ryles from 2025 for four years, both RCG and Gutherson were bullish and full of praise.

"He's [Ryles] been successful at both clubs. As I said before, the two coaches he's been working for over the last 10-12 years, they've won comps and done it all before." Gutherson noted.

"He's going to be great for the club."

"They're obviously putting a lot of faith in him to come and do it the way he wants to."

RCG, also added: "I'm just looking forward to it. [Now that] it's all sorted and we can focus on the rest of the year first, and then move onto next year as well."

"It's exciting [Ryles’ appointment], but like I said, we've still got nine more games."

"The game's getting quicker and faster, the players and the new generation coming through are quicker and stronger. So, you've got to be on your toes to match it with them."

"I'll probably get a new leash of life [from the Ryles appointment]. I've still got a few more years here. We'll see what happens."

Who stays, who goes?

When RCG was asked about the possibility of not being in Ryles future plans.

"I wouldn't say I was concerned. If he wants me, he wants me," RCG responded.

"I haven't had any conversations about the future [with Ryles]. If he doesn't want me, he doesn't want me. Then, I know it's part of the business. I can deal with that."

"Then, I'll just move on and find something else. It's the business we're in. The highs and the lows that come with it."

Gutherson also admitted some might get a tap on the shoulder.

“That’s another thing for the new staff to come in and sort of make a decision on. There’s a lot of older boys that might get a tap on the shoulder, might not, it’s just the way it is.

“You have to deal with it," Gutherson admitted.

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Gutho: We're better than the results

Gutherson pointed out that the Eels have been a better team that the results suggest.

"The last two months we've been playing better than the results say."

"We've been in games right to the end, but haven't been able to ice them."

In a sense, Gutherson is right. The Eels have been ahead early to mid second half in 11 of 16 games this season  and in a position to win most games.

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In last week's 32-16 Souths’ loss at home, against a red-hot Souths team that would be leading the competition from round twelve and undfeated since then with five-straight wins the Eels fought back from 12-0 down after 12 minutes to be behind by just 16-10 on the scoreboard up until the 56th minute. But from then the Eels faded and Souths took control run away with the match, showing their class on the back of Mitchell and their spine.

It's something that has happened at the back-end of every game. It’s not if, it’s when. Generally, the Eels fade from around the 50th minute (without Moses) or from the 65th onwards (with Moses). It’s a consistent theme.

 

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RCG on the Titans: It will be a tough game.

"Their back five [Titans] are very quick and lightning. So, we have to control them,” Reagan Campbell-Gillard told reporters earlier today.

"Keiren Foran is playing some great football along with Fifita."

"It's going to be a good challenge and a tough challenge."

"We're just desperate to get a win. We'll do anything and everything to make sure we get that,” Gillard noted.

Gutherson, reiterated the same: "We just need a win. I'm sick of losing.”

The future ahead for the Eels, who are a declining and ageing force currently equal last, appears challenging. But with some promising juniors, a talented core group, a new head coach confrimed yesterday, the incoming Lomax and perhaps more recruits, there is as much uncertainty as hope.

 

 

 

As of Tuesday, 9 July, 2024 (at 6pm AEST) Sportbet has the following odds:

Titans ($1.44) hot favorites over the Eels ($2.80) break the Eels seven year Cbus hoodoo.

Eels as second favourites to win the wooden spoon in a three horse race: Wests Tigers ($1.91), Eels ($2.50), and Titans ($7.50).

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Replies

  • Let's hope Meagan Campbell Gillard puts in a big one and doesn't become the new Sharon Woods. 

    • P.S we should have a serious crack at AJ Brimson. At least enquire with the Titans if they'd consider a release .  He seems on the outer with Des and the Titans have him on their books for a long time. He may consider a move. He was cleared fit but Des sidelined him. Hes apparently at odds with crew up there. 

      • Spot on, Wiz. Good call. He's a talent for sure. We need him more than the Titans do. Only mid 20s. Wonder why he would be on the outer? Des? Attitude? Off field stuff? Injury history?

      • X3 - Brimson would be a great target.

        Is he on the outer or is it more that they don't want to lose Kini or Campbell?

        3 genuine fullbacks, they can't keep them all.

        Guess it all depends where Eels see Talagi & Lomax playing. Brimson has said he wants to play fullback, so would likely only come for that position.

        Love his support game from fullback, he's always around the action & that genuine speed would be such a benefit for team who can offload as the Eels can.

        • Pretty much nailed it , he is surplus to requirement and like Dylan Brown , Meninga signed him for an eternity . 2030 or something stupid like that .  It's not to Dessies liking with so much talent coming through for cheaper .  Not sure they'd release him and pay any freight , but for a player of his calibre since des has been at the helm he's had a bumpy ride holding his spot . And his form has been good , but obviously Des doesn't hold him in as high regard as Mal and Holbrook did .  It'd be 100% worth the enquiry . Great player and very mature kid to talk to . If you want the kind of guys that circle the ground appreciating fans win or lose , he's your man .  

          • The Titans have had some superb backs over their time and for me all they needed was a couple of decent forwards to make a dent into the finals.

            Lets hope going forward Parra adjust their thinking in terms of long term contracts and player managers. 
            The Titans have always given us tough games and I see this as no different. They will look to work us over and then use their second phase / backs. 
            TBH defence and attitude will be interesting to watch. 
            What i find laughable is when I hear particular quotes from our players...sick of the talk since last year and we have seen little consistency from our top 4-6.

          • Interesting. Really like what you've said about the fan engagement also. 

            Zero Tackle (take with a grain of salt) has him on 700k for the next 1,000 years, but the allure of fullback, he could do maybe do a 'Lomax' & sign for less for his preferred position?! 

            Can you call your good mate MoN and get things moving? 

             

            • Gents, the more I think about Brimson, the more I like it - injury history aside. Mid 20s, has pace, potency, class, Origin experience, can play one, six, centre at a pinch. Exactly what we need. Would he be willing to relocate? That could be the big thing with some of these talents up there. What are the chances we even go after him or have cap room? We might need to offload some of our big-money forwards soon.

            • Haha how many fullbacks do we need and how many promises are we going to offer potential signings?

              Blaize

              Lomax

              Gutho

              Brimson

              They all want to play fullback and for 1 reason only - money!

              • Firstly Hoey, that Montage you did on RCG is "brilliant" It seems that it has been lost given the overall quality of your work. I was moving through your blog opening and then stopped, glanced at the Montage and moved on. Then immediately went back because I thought you had just copied and pasted, then realised you had put it together. I dont know anyone that could have done what you have, cannot speak highly enough of it.

                Back to Brimson, we have a lot of people on here who have no idea what a X-Factor player is and use the word to often BUT I believe Brimson is potentially one of the very few players with the untapped potential to be exactly that..... He has not been well handled, if we had another marquee signing for our backline. this is the guy!

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