The Titans under-20s go into tomorrow’s clash with the Newcastle Knights undefeated but knowing full well that last year’s finalists with perhaps the most dangerous halves in the competition can’t be given any attacking leeway at Cbus Super Stadium.
The Knights are a side that roll forward down the field as well as any in the Holden Cup, with Australian Schoolboys halves of 2014, Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb, ready to take advantage.
Hooker Danni Levi of another who can take advantage of good go forward and quick play the balls, and coach Ben Woolf knows that’s the area his defence has to be on-song – stopping the Knights’ roll-forward.
“They are a good side that get down the field well and have creative halves to come off the back of it so our defence has to work hard,” said Woolf.
“But we have got some confidence from our good start to the season and have Parahi Wilson back in the side who leads us defensively. It will be a good challenge for our boys.”
The Titans fought back well from 20-6 down early in the second half against a much bigger Panthers side in Bathurst, controlling the ball well and creating opportunities with enterprising attack to score the next 28 points.
Jed Cartwright has picked up three tries in his first two matches in under-20s at left centre while Brian Kelly’s move to fullback has proved a masterstroke with the elusive runner proving a handful for defences.
Co-captain Wilson’s return to the 17 will be the only change to the side with Woolf to confirm the final squad tomorrow.
The Titans are one of only four teams to win their first two matches, along with North Queensland, Manly and Brisbane while the Knights beat the Warriors but went down to the Cowboys 42-22 last round.
Titans under-20s: Kelly, Spring, Cartwright, Hudson, Mika, Lawton, Tuiasau, Fletcher, Iodice, Colman, H. Schwass, Wilson. Interchange: Ashby, Watts, Elliott, Wright.
Match officials: Referee 0 Liam Kelly. Touch judges – Alex Mallory, Tim Rutherford.