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Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders NRL Preview and Team News - Raiders set for another win on the Gold Coast

Andrew Hendrie 8 Mar 2018
  • Gold Coast Titans host Canberra Raiders in Round 1 of the NRL on Sunday night
  • Raiders going for third straight win over Titans
Titans host Raiders on Sunday night

Canberra Raiders go in search of their third straight win over Gold Coast Titans when the two sides clash on Sunday night at Cbus Super Stadium to conclude NRL Round 1 action.

After a disappointing campaign last season in which they failed to make the finals after reaching the preliminary finals in 2016, Canberra will be targeting a much-improved year in 2018 - and it all starts on Sunday night against a Titans side that many are predicting to pick up the wooden spoon.

While the Raiders went backwards last season, they did lose several games by six points or less, and with a little bit more discipline and luck on their side, I think they’ll be returning to the top eight in 2018.

At their best, the Raiders are arguably the most lethal attacking team in the competition, and with the experience of last season behind them, they should be able to bounce back strongly this campaign and re-establish themselves as premiership contenders.

Ricky Stuart has barely made any changes to his roster, but Blake Austin will start on the bench as Sam Williams takes the halfback role and Siliva Havili slots into hooker.

Gold Coast have brought in some nice recruits in the likes of Michael Gordon and Bryce Cartwright, but are they really the answer to improvement and a top eight finish in 2018? Probably not.

New coach Garth Brennan is unproven at NRL level and has arguably the toughest job in rugby league - rebuilding the sport and interest on the Gold Coast.

Much of the Titans’ success this season will depend on halfback Ash Taylor, who at his best has the potential to be a star of the sport for the next decade, but he will need to continue to develop. With Kane Elgey partnering him, there is plenty of cause for optimism for the young halves pairing.

Nevertheless, I’ll need to see the Titans play this season before backing them. Canberra have a solid recent record on the Gold Coast and simply have more firepower in them. I think a lot of points will be scored on Sunday night and the Raiders will run out comfortable winners.

Stats


  • Canberra have won their last two meetings and four of the last six
  • Raiders won three of last four on the Gold Coast
  • These two sides have combined to exceed 40 points in their last six straight matches

Teams


Michael Gordon and Bryce Cartwright are handed their Titans debuts in the starting side as Mitch Rein comes off the bench, while Blake Austin is on the interchange for Canberra, with Sam Williams starting at halfback and Siliva Havili at hooker.

Titans team: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jai Arrow, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Leilani Latu, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Ryan James (c), 13 Bryce Cartwright. Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Will Matthews, 17 Morgan Boyle. Reserves: 18 Joe Greenwood, 19 Jai Whitbread, 20 Tyronne Roberts Davis, 21 Aj Brimson

Raiders team: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Aiden Sezer, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Joseph Tapine, 13 Elliott Whitehead. Interchange: 14 Blake Austin, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Dunamis Lui, 17 Iosia Soliola. Reserves: 18 Charlie Gubb, 19 Brad Abbey, 20 Royce Hunt, 21 Craig Garvey

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Gold Coast Titans vs Canberra Raiders NRL Preview and Team News - Raiders set for another win on the Gold Coast

Canberra Raiders go in search of their third straight win over Gold Coast Titans when the two sides clash on Sunday night at Cbus Super Stadium to conclude NRL Round 1 action.

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