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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    • I'll be traveling back from Port Macquarie , with mum waffling my ear off and the kids fighting in the back.  I'm on the other end of the spectrum , expecting a shit drive home and a horrible loss on the radio to top it off. 

      • Damn that sucks Wiz.

        I will sink a scotch in your honour. 

      • Wiz, stop off at Tuggerah exit mate - head to Mingara club and there's a good feed / some pokies and some kids activities too. Sit back on an ale and steak etc. and get your mum a Gin or Pimms mate 

        • Haha , cheers for the recommendation my man, but I'll be getting home as quick as possible 😂.  A week dragging around camel riding , Timbertowning , shopping with the old chook and visiting rellos in between , I'll be ready to get home and sit on my own throne , use my own shower and lay in my own bed. Pretty much eating out breakfast lunch and tea I'll be hightailing past the pubs by Saturday 😂.   Made me remember as I typed this , the last time I drove home from Port Macquarie on game day was Tim Smiths debut. Against Wests  or Souths  if I'm not mistaken and he ripped it up,  I remember listening to it on the radio coming over the hawkbury bridge thinking who tha fucks this dude .  Maybe history will repeat itself . Wed stayed in this same Village Resort ( now called Ultiqua or some shit ) and saw same rellos and drove home game day . Too funny. 

          • I get it mate - totally get it. 
            Smith was a decent player for a season or so. Another one that could not seem to make it in the game. Gee that must have been around 2005? Recall some tries he set up - he had a superb season. Took risks and most came off...

            • Probably some of the most exciting footy I've ever seen the Eels play was that little window of 2005 . And  I was around in the 80s . It was so good to watch, kid could've been anything with the right senior players around to guide him, unfortunately he hooked up with dopes like Riddell .  

  • The result can go either way this one now the players have some certainty who the coach is next year a lot of them are playing for there futures.Ryles will be looking closely if he's worth his salt and can see guys not putting in all the way to the end there's no need for there services going foward.

    I expect to see some sought of hit back now we have certainty round our future.

  • No idea which team wins this one as I have zero confidence in either team to get the job done, but I am confident in betting game total above 50 points.

  • Excellent read as usual thanks HOE. I really hope the team steps up for RCG 100th game he is one bloke who does give his all and has been the only prop worth feeding of late. Junior used to beone of my favourite players but his form last year and in particular this year has fallen off a cliff. So lazy in defence it makes me cry watching him walking around the field and his natural reaction when he gets the ball these days is to pass instead of run.

    I fear for our outside backs. Last time I saw Blaize play centre he cost us the game coming in needlessly and getting ran around by his opposite. It was one of his first games and early in the season when we were travelling pretty well but that game felt like a turning point in some ways.

    At least our up and coming players from Toyota Cup are coming from a team that has been winning. Hopefully that expectation rubs off on the regulas. 

    On another note I think I read that Guymer is unsigned for next year!!!! WTF did we not learn from having Blaize debut and push up his asking price? We are one very dumb club.

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