KALIFA Faifai Loa, fresh from his appearance for the winning Queensland’s Residents side in the curtain-raiser on Wednesday night, has been chosen ahead of Anthony Don to replace the injured David Mead on the right wing in tomorrow’s clash against the Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium - in an obvious tough call for coach John Cartwright.
Nate Myles and David Taylor are raring to back up from Origin II so the likely starting side is: Zillman, Gordon, Takairangi, Roberts, Faifai Loa, Blair, Mortimer, Bailey, Falloon, Douglas, Minichiello, Taylor, Carter. Interchange: White, Myles, Kelly, Kingston.
Kevin Gordon will be given first crack at the goal kicking duties after his side-line cracker against Souths on Monday.
Mead will be sidelined for two to three weeks and Matt Srama is also out for at least a fortnight with a groin injury.
DAVE TAYLOR is primed for a big match and is a key man in tomorrow’s clash.
He only received 18 minutes playing time for Queensland on Wednesday night but his carries were full of determination and he proved a handful for the Blues’ defence. His two lost possessions were certainly debatable – the first one a 50-50 all between a loose carry and a strip but the second appeared a definite strip judging by the replay.
The side needs him to be dominant against the big Raiders pack. By the way, he celebrated his 26th birthday in Maroons camp on Tuesday.
IT was calculated during NAIDOC week this week that the Titans have the most Indigenous players in the squad of any NRL club with ten, with Canberra second.
They are James Roberts, Maurice Blair, Albert Kelly, Greg Bird, Ryan James, Caleb Binge, Aidan Sezer and Brad Tighe who have played NRL this season plus Jamal Fogarty and Christian Hazard.
OPPOSING coaches tomorrow, John Cartwright and Ricky Stuart, have a deep history together so will very much be friendly rivals.
As players they made their international debuts together on the 1990 Kangaroo tour and were opponents in the 1990 and 1991 grand finals, Cartwright for Penrith and Stuart for Canberra, and played four Origin games together in 1991-92.
It was Stuart who introduced Carty to full-time coaching, as his assistant at the Roosters from 2003-05 after he began his coaching career as Panthers reserve grade coach in 2000-01. He was Stuart’s assistant with the NSW team in 2005 (and had been Phil Gould’s right hand man the previous two seasons), the last time they had won an Origin series before Queensland’s record eight-series run.
Fox Sports will break tradition and interview them together before tomorrow’s match, rather than individually, which will be entertaining.
TITANS fans who know how important it is for the NRL side to beat the Raiders tomorrow and go to 20 competition points can look for an omen from the Holden Cup results.
Every time Ben Woolf’s side has won – three times on the road – the first grade side has also won. The sequence began in Melbourne when both sides came from behind to achieve impressive victories; the second time came at Leichhardt Oval when both teams avenged home ground defeats and they brought up the hat-trick against Souths in Sydney on Monday night.
Here’s hoping for a home sequence to begin at Cbus Super Stadium where the under-20s are yet to taste victory and the NRL side have won only two from eight this season. Ben Woolf’s side had a run of injury that almost rivalled the John Cartwright’s side over the previous two months but they have been kept intact the past two games which in itself is a good omen.
WHILE much has been made of some of the Titans’ poor stats this season, we have two NRL leaders. Paul Carter has the most kick charge downs with four and Albert Kelly the most intercepts with three.
TITANS v RAIDERS head to head:
Played 14: Titans 9; Raiders 5.
The Titans are chasing a fourth straight victory against the Raiders.
Past two clashes: Titans won 36-0 at home in 2013 and 24-12 in Canberra this year (round 3).
The Raiders’ only victory on the Gold Coast since 2007 was in Round 2, 2012 when Jarrod Croker scored 16 of Canberra's 24 points in their 24-12 win (two tries and four goals).
TRIVIA: Dave Mead and Kevin Gordon have been neck-and-neck in the try-scoring stakes since they debuted in the 2009 season and are the top two try scorers in the club’s history. Who has scored the most tries?
LAST WEEK’S TRIVIA ANSWER: Which two NRL players are older than Luke Bailey? Lote Tuqiri (Souths) born September 23, 1979 and Fuifui Moimoi, born September 26, 1979. ‘Bails’ was born on January 5, 1980 so all three are 34.