Local officials are hoping for a crowd tomorrow in Bathurst close to the 8824 who watched the Panthers, then sitting second on the ladder, suffer an upset 18-16 loss to last-placed Cronulla in round 20 last season. The Titans are naturally hoping for a similar result against a strong Penrith side that started the season convincingly against the Bulldogs.
Tickets sales had been a little slow but locals are expecting a good walk up with bright weather forecast for Saturday – 26 degrees.
Fortunately it likely to warm-up compared what it was like today – a cool 18 degrees with it getting down to just seven degrees overnight.
It forced a quick run to the shops for one team official to get some pullover for the boys who were unprepared for the climate change and had left their Titans hoodies at home. The local ‘op shop’ and Rivers factory outlet had an impromptu workout.
Daniel Mortimer may have lost two grand finals among the many matches he played at Bathurst’s Carrington Park, the pinnacle venue of NSW’s rugby league rich central-west region, but his last memory of playing there is a good one.
It was in 2006 when he played for Orange CYMS in the Bathurst Panthers’ annual under-18s tournament contested by teams from Group 10 (also played at first grade level too). He took an intercept late in the match and ran 80 metres to score the match-winning try against Mudgee in the grand final.
James Roberts doesn’t share those sort of memories however. He is hoping for a more enjoyable experience at Carrington Park than his only previous match there, playing for the Panthers NRL side in a pre-season trial against Wests Tigers in 2013.
Roberts scored a great individual try but injured his ankle badly soon after was sidelined for three months. He had to come back through the under-20s, but at least won a premiership with Kierran Moseley as a teammate.
Incidentally, the Titans will field three former Panthers tomorrow in Roberts, Moseley and Matt Robinson while 18th man Ryan Simpkins is also a three-season Panther who joined the Titans this year with Moseley and Robinson.
Newlyweds (married in October) David Mead and his wife Taneal proudly announced this week they are expecting their first child in September.
Meady is hoping it will be a month of double celebration with a finals appearance with the Titans happening as well.
There were a couple of birthday celebrations this week too. Matt Robinson turned 25 on Tuesday and Josh Hoffman 27 on Wednesday.
THIS WEEK’S LEAGUE TRIVIA:
Only two players with a surname starting with Z have played 100 games in the NRL/ARL competition. Titans’ own William Zillman is one, who is the other? Answer next week.