The Broncos may have been the 2014 grand finalists and won three from four this season but our under-20s have proven they can be giant-killers in this competition and go into this afternoon’s clash (5.20pm kick-off) knowing they can compete hard for 80 minutes.
They showed that in the first three rounds against last year’s minor premiers Newcastle (beaten 19-18 after we had 13 fit players for much of the second half) and Wests Tigers who Ben Woolf’s side beat convincingly.
They just didn’t compete against Cronulla away last Saturday and looked a little leg weary and mentally down. Woolf admitted his side didn’t handle the short turnaround and trip to Sydney and went down 30-14 but has been happy with their preparation this week.
“We know we are a team that lacks a bit of size and has to get through our sets and compete hard for 80 minutes defensively,” he said. “Our completions were really good until the second half against Newcastle and we have to get back into that grind, especially against a team as good as the Broncos.”
Co-captain Shaun Hudson returns to the side in the centres after coming off concussed against the Panthers and Knights and missing last week’s Sharks clash. However, in form second-rower Hayden Schwass is out, along with prop James Iodice and bench forward Nathan Watts.
And interesting clash with be at five-eighth between Karl Lawton, who has been a real danger since switching from hooker this season, and Broncos’ key man Jayden Nikorima.
The Broncos were beaten by their grand final nemesis of last season, the Warriors, 40-14 last weekend so both teams are in a similar position – having to overcome their only poor performances of the opening four rounds.
Goalkicking has been a disappointing aspect for the Titans this season with a 44 per cent success rate before Jed Cartwright took on the duties last week and landed two from two, including one from the touch line. He will retain the duties today and has been very solid at left centre, scoring four tries, prepared to take the ball out of his own end and been strong defensively.
The Titans team:
Kelly, Spring, Cartwright, Hudson (capt), Humphreys, Lawton, Torpy, Tuiasau, Fletcher, Elliott, Colman, Wright, Wilson (capt). Interchange: Ashby, Maloney, Hughes, Clarke, Berkers, Swift.