After some positives on the again finish of a troublesome 2018, the Gold Coast Titans have had a robust low season and will probably be seeking to problem for a spot within the prime eight in 2019.
They could have completed 14th final 12 months, however a few of their efforts with a revamped backbone and bettering ahead pack on the again finish of final 12 months may have followers enthusiastic about what this facet can produce in 2019.
Within the final month, they have been aggressive in opposition to finals-bound sides just like the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers, whereas additionally racking up a rating on the hapless Sea Eagles.
It was a new-found effort and depth in defence, led by children like Jai Arrow and Moeaki Fotuaika, whereas their assault additionally has loads of pleasure about it.
Potential is a phrase which has appeared so much throughout the first eight sides of this preview sequence, nevertheless it most likely applies to the Titans greater than anybody else. Guys like AJ Brimson and Ashley Taylor may very well be the way forward for rugby league in Australia, however notably within the case of Taylor, 2019 looks like transferring 12 months.
Garth Brennan has had one other full pre-season to work his magic on the Titans, and if he can get them rolling early on, they may be capable of construct a freight prepare of momentum, however regardless of the case, 2019 hardly seems prefer it’s going to be one other model of 2018.
Membership reality file
Colors: Gold, White and Blue
House grounds: CBus Tremendous Stadium, Gold Coast
Minor premierships: zero
Finest end in final 5 years: 2016 – eighth (First week of finals)
2018 end: 14th
Coach: Garth Brennan
Captain: Ryan James
Ryan James (c), Jai Arrow, Jesse Arthars, Shannon Boyd, Morgan Boyle, AJ Brimson, Bryce Cartwright, Dale Copley, Anthony Don, Darius Farmer, Moeaki Fotuaika, Michael Gordon, Keegan Hipgrave, Ryley Jacks, Brian Kelly, Max King, Leilani Latu, Brenko Lee, Will Matthews, Tyrone Peachey, Nathan Peats, Kevin Proctor, Mitch Rein, Tyrone Roberts, Phillip Sami, Jack Stockwell, Ashley Taylor, Jarrod Wallace, Jai Whitbread
Ins: Jesse Arthars (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Shannon Boyd (Canberra Raiders), Ryley Jacks (Melbourne Storm), Brian Kelly (Manly Sea Eagles), Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers), Tyrone Roberts (Warrington Wolves)
Outs: Kane Elgey (Manly Sea Eagles), Brendan Elliott (Manly Sea Eagles), Joe Greenwood (Wigan Warriors), Konrad Hurrell (Leeds Rhinos), Ryan Simpkins (retired)
As talked about within the opening spiel, it’s been a fairly productive low season within the switch marketplace for the Titans. The Gold Coast are clearly attempting to construct a crew who, within the close to future, will be capable of problem for the membership’s first premiership.
The method to go about that’s to chase guys who, whereas not essentially superstars, have the potential to turn out to be so – and Garth Brennan may very well be the man to carry that out of them.
Whereas their forwards have suffered just one main change, with the losses of Joe Greenwood and Ryan Simpkins permitting Shannon Boyd to hitch the membership, there isn’t a query that’s a great transfer.
Neither Greenwood or Simpkins had a noticeable affect for the Titans final 12 months, whereas Boyd, at his greatest, may very well be a wrecking ball. It’s truthful to say 2018 wasn’t his greatest 12 months, but when he can get match and play just a few extra minutes, his manufacturing has the potential to be off the charts.
This low season can be a transparent line within the sand second for the Gold Coast. Clearly, the choice has been made that Kane Elgey merely wasn’t going to work out. In his place, the membership have two choices, with Tyrone Roberts again within the fold from Warrington, and the spectacular Melbourne Storm understudy Ryley Jacks becoming a member of the membership.
Undoubtedly their greatest transfer was bringing New South Wales State of Origin utility Tyrone Peachey to the membership. He can play nearly anyplace on the park, and gives the Titans nice depth. He’s more likely to begin within the cease of Konrad Hurrell, whereas Brendan Elliott has additionally left the membership.
Brian Kelly and Jesse Arthars, who was spectacular in a trial in opposition to the Cowboys final weekend, are their different signings.
This can be a backbone which ought to excite followers of the Titans and neutrals.
AJ Brimson is likely one of the sport’s hottest younger prospects, and can line up at fullback for the Gold Coast. He was distinctive there on the again finish of final 12 months, and it wasn’t simply his assault.
He has proven proper by way of his time within the decrease grades, then wherever he was taking part in for the Titans, that he has unbelievable imaginative and prescient to go together with tempo, acceleration and agility.
However his defence at fullback was one thing else. That very same degree of imaginative and prescient noticed him in the proper spot 99 per cent of the time. Whereas the Titans did concede factors at occasions with him on the again, that was extra of an issue with their pack and edges, than him.
Brimson will probably be joined within the backbone by Ashley Taylor, who must take his sport to the subsequent degree in guiding his facet across the park.
Taylor has been robust, however by no means fairly constantly on the degree he has proven at his greatest.
He has been placed on discover by coach Brennan as properly, nevertheless it’s the person subsequent to him – Tyrone Roberts – who may enable Taylor to go to a different degree.
Behind each nice half is one other one who is ready to simply step up when wanted, take the stress off with a robust kicking sport and preserve opposition defensive strains guessing.
Their depth can be excellent, with Michael Gordon and Ryley Jacks set to overlook out.
Nathan Peats rounds out a solid-looking backbone, and his passing sport, in addition to the defensive workload he is ready to get by way of, is excellent.
Anthony Don and Phillip Sami nearly decide themselves on the wing. The development of Sami was clear for all to see all through 2018, whereas Don is a prolific try-scorer and the most effective wingers within the competitors – at each ends of the park.
Tyrone Peachey can be an apparent option to seize the centre spot vacated, however who strains up on the opposite facet of the park is a query.
Dale Copley has been a strong performer for the Titans, however you’d must suppose a punt will probably be taken on the strong Brian Kelly, who has been robust throughout his time at Manly.
Copley is simply begin of the depth image, with others like Jesse Arthars, the more likely to be ignored Michael Gordon and Brenko Lee placing the stress on for spots.
It’s an enormous entrance row mixture to get the Titans away in matches, with Queensland origin prop Jarrod Wallace set to be joined by recruit Shannon Boyd.
Each will need to raise their performances from final 12 months, however at their greatest, are a scary mixture with the quickly bettering Jai Arrow having a mortgage on lock.
With that being the case, Ryan James will once more persist with an edge for the Titans, though may transfer into the center third all through video games as a second-row heavy bench will get rotated. He begins there with Kiwi worldwide Kevin Proctor.
As talked about, Bryce Cartwright and Keegan Hipgrave will each be on the bench, alongside back-up hooker Mitch Rein and hard-hitting entrance rower Moeaki Fotuaika, who’s one other of their thrilling younger prospects.
That leaves names like Will Matthews, Jack Stockwell, Max King, Jai Whitbread and Morgan Boyle out of the 17, so loads of depth there.
There’s each probability the Origin machine would possibly meet up with the Titans this 12 months, and whereas they’ve a fairly snug fixture by way of that half of the 12 months, they want their stars to be contemporary come the tip after they hit the highway for a troublesome end in what is going to finally be one other intently run competitors.
Tyrone Peachey is (at this level) virtually a sure decide for the Blues, whereas Nathan Peats and Ryan James is also in with an opportunity.
On the opposite facet of the border, it’s be a shock to see Jai Arrow or Jarrod Wallace miss out.
Seemingly greatest 17
1. AJ Brimson
2. Anthony Don
three. Brian Kelly
four. Tyrone Peachey
5. Phillip Sami
6. Tyrone Roberts
7. Ashley Taylor
eight. Jarrod Wallace
9. Nathan Peats
10. Shannon Boyd
11. Kevin Proctor
12. Ryan James
13. Jai Arrow
14. Mitch Rein
15. Moeaki Fotuaika
16. Keegan Hipgrave
17. Bryce Cartwright
Keys to the season
Can Bryce Cartwright get to his greatest?
It’s be truthful to say Bryce Cartwright merely wasn’t the identical participant that he was on the Panthers all through 2018.
We’ve seen his unbelievable talent in a number of positions earlier than heading to the Gold Coast. He had a capability to show and win video games for his membership, however so dangerous was his kind final 12 months, he solely made 14 appearances.
In that point, he scored simply two tries, didn’t make a line break and solely set two up, tackled with lower than 85 per cent effectivity and averaged simply 57 metres per sport.
These numbers make for very bleak studying, and but, he’s more likely to get a spot on the bench this 12 months, on fame alone.
If he can get again to his greatest, then he turns into a very robust asset for the Titans, who want a game-changer like him of their ranks if they’re to go to the finals.
It’ll be all about getting again to fundamentals. Run the ball arduous, deal with properly, and issues ought to begin occurring round him, such is his pure expertise.
Tyrone Peachey and AJ Brimson are X-Components
The Titans have two of probably the most thrilling gamers within the sport on their books this 12 months, with the signing of Peachey and retention of Brimson.
I’ve already talked about Brimson, however he was so, so good final 12 months. He had seven tries in 15 video games, was capable of lay on just a few tries, power some dropouts, and defend excellently.
It was his defence which stood out most after his transfer to fullback, however he’s an irresistible choice for Brennan this 12 months, and if that kind continues, he will probably be arduous to close down regardless of the place he goes.
What provides a lot to his sport as a fullback, is his kicking sport. Having that third possibility on the park makes life extraordinarily robust for defenders.
Peachey too, was glorious at Penrith. His means to play any place on the park has gained him loads of admirers within the sport, however centre appears to be the place it’s at.
He was capable of finding the tryline loads of occasions final 12 months, but additionally has dimension and energy out huge which regularly makes life simpler for his outdoors companion, and with good imaginative and prescient, there are few alternatives which go begging when he has his arms on the ball.
Ashley Taylor should lastly unlock his potential
After coach Brennan all however stated Taylor wasn’t prepared for Origin throughout final season on account of consistency points, there may be clear stress on him to steer a crew who many consider ought to be finals-bound in 2019.
Those self same points hung round throughout the second half of the 12 months, and Taylor must reside as much as the staggering value on his contract.
He has the composure, kicking sport, passing sport, operating sport – he has all of it – nevertheless it’s by no means all clicked for a couple of or two video games at a time.
As I discussed earlier, Roberts being within the facet alongside him ought to assist because of a constant kicking sport, nevertheless it’s Taylor who should rise up over the subsequent six months if the Titans are to go anyplace or do something of significance.
|Spherical no.||Date||Time (AEDT)||Opponent||Venue||TV|
|1||Solar Mar 17||6:10pm||Canberra Raiders||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|2||Sat Mar 23||3pm||Cronulla Sharks||Shark Park||Fox|
|three||Solar Mar 31||6:10pm||South Sydney Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium||Fox|
|four||Fri Apr 5||6pm||New Zealand Warriors||MT Good Stadium||Fox|
|5||Fri Apr 12||6pm||Penrith Panthers||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|6||Solar Apr 21||2pm||Newcastle Knights||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|7||Sat Apr 27||5:30pm||Wests Tigers||Scully Park, Tamworth||Fox|
|eight||Fri Could three||6pm||North Queensland Cowboys||1300 Smiles Stadium||Fox|
|9||Thu Could 9||7:50pm||Cronulla Sharks||Suncorp Stadium||9/Fox|
|10||Sat Could 18||3pm||Canterbury Bulldogs||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|11||Fri Could 24||6pm||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Fox|
|12||Solar Jun 2||four:05pm||North Queensland Cowboys||CBus Tremendous Stadium||9/Fox|
|13||Solar Jun 9||2pm||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Fox|
|14||Fri Jun 14||6pm||New Zealand Warriors||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|15||Sat Jun 29||3pm||Manly Sea Eagles||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|17||Fri Jul 12||6pm||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Fox|
|18||Solar Jul 21||2pm||Melbourne Storm||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|19||Sat Jul 27||5:30pm||Brisbane Broncos||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|20||Solar Aug four||2pm||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Floor||Fox|
|21||Sat Aug 10||3pm||St George Illawarra Dragons||Jubilee Stadium||Fox|
|22||Fri Aug 16||6pm||Parramatta Eels||CBus Tremendous Stadium||Fox|
|23||Solar Aug 25||2pm||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Fox|
|24||Sat Aug 31||3pm||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Fox|
|25||Sat Sep 7||7:35pm||St George Illawarra Dragons||CBus Tremendous Stadium||9/Fox|
The fast breakdown
Groups to play twice: Cronulla Sharks, St George Illawarra Dragons, New Zealand Warriors, North Queensland Cowboys, Melbourne Storm, Penrith Panthers, Newcastle Knights, Brisbane Broncos, Manly Sea Eagles
Finest dwelling run: Spherical 12 – Spherical 19 (5 out of seven)
Worst away run: Spherical 20 – Spherical 24 (four out of 5)
5-day turnarounds: 2
The draw has left the Titans with one of many harder double-up lists in 2019. The Sharks, Knights and Warriors current one thing of an unknown, and whereas they’d be assured in opposition to Manly, the opposite 5 groups will not be going to be assist them with a double.
Their begin to the season is fairly properly balanced, and whereas the Raiders, Sharks and Warriors will current a strong problem, dealing with the Rabbitohs early on would be the greatest time to take action beneath new coach Wayne Bennett.
Additionally they have a robust run of dwelling video games by way of the center of the season, the place they play 5 out of seven at dwelling, and one in all their two away journeys is to Brisbane, so with Origin creating some instability throughout the competitors, that’s a interval of the season the place they should make hay whereas the solar shines.
Their final six weeks of competitors is unlikely to be simple although. They spend simply two of these video games at dwelling, have two matches in opposition to the Dragons, one in opposition to the Roosters, and in addition play Melbourne in Melbourne, so they are going to need to be properly and actually within the eight heading into that stretch if they’re going to play finals footy in 2019.
I see the Titans being a significant challenger for the eight, and greater than probably, spending a piece of time in there all through the season.
I’m undecided they are going to have the consistency and talent to fall into the finals this 12 months, nevertheless it ought to be a much-improved season for a membership with some spectacular younger expertise on the books.
From Monday, we are going to ramp the sequence as much as each weekday within the lead-up to the NRL season. Subsequent up, eighth place.
Full 2019 NRL season previews
16th – Parramatta Eels
15th – Canberra Raiders
14th – Manly Sea Eagles
13th – New Zealand Warriors
12th – Canterbury Bulldogs
11th – Cronulla Sharks
10th – Wests Tigers