Digital Image Grant Trouville  © nrlphotos : Auckland 9s Fan Day at Aotea Square , Auckland,NZ Friday 30th January 2015.

Facing a 'home boy' welcome

The Titans’ first match in this weekend’s Auckland Nines is a tough one against the local heroes who have an array of international talent in Shaun Johnson, Ben Matulino, Manu Vatuvei, Sam Tomkins and Ryan Hoffman, the Australian and NSW Blues back-rower who is debuting for his new club.

Johnson, with his lightning speed and brilliant skills, is the obvious danger man along with England fullback Tomkins.

However, we have a side that is fit and slick with perhaps the one man in the tournament who can match Johnson for pace and elusiveness in James Roberts plus genuine speed men in David Mead, Anthony Don, Brat Tighe and Josh Hoffman who will be wearing Titans colours for the first time.

While everyone thinks of open spaces, flamboyant attack and lots of tries in Nines football, the Titans know defence is the key to success too and that is the area they have been concentrating mostly on with assistant coach Rohan Smith working hard with the squad.

The changes to the squad this week will mean newcomer Kierran Moseley, quick and clever out of dummy half, will partner debutant Christian Hazard with Kane Elgey and Daniel Mortimer splitting the halfback role.

Also in the side for the first time are back-rowers Lachlan Burr, Matt Robinson and Jai Ingram who give Neil Henry nine players out of 18 playing for him for the first time.

It’s a great chance for Titans fans to get a sneak preview of what they can expect from the new look squad of 2015.

Kick-off is 11.45am in Queensland (12.45pm EST) with halves over nine minutes.

The squads:

TITANS: Will Zillman (c), James Roberts, Anthony Don, David Mead, Josh Hoffman, Brad Tighe, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Aidan Sezer, Daniel Mortimer, Christian Hazard, Kierran Moseley, Jai Ingram, Mark Ioane, Matthew White, Lachlan Burr, Kane Elgey, Dave Taylor, Matt Robinson.

WARRIORS: Shaun Johnson (c), Matthew Allwood, Nathan Friend, Ben Henry, Ryan Hoffman, Solomone Kata, Ngani Laumape, Sam Lisone, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi, Suaia Matagi, Ben Matulino, Ken Maumalo, Nathaniel Roache, Bodene Thompson, Sam Tomkins, Chad Townsend, Manu Vatuvei.

Go to our Twitter account for the final team of 14 and for score by score updates if you can't watch live.