U20s PREVIEW: Titans v Sharks
What started off as a great start to the season has turned into a frustrated period for the Gold Training Titans under-20s side.
The young Titans, who began the season with two impressive wins but have won just one of their past-seven matches, can still turn this season around if they return to their grinding 80-minute effort of earlier in the season, coach Ben Woolf said.
But what has been making his task harder is a tough run with injury, which has seen them go through the past two games with just 16 men.
Against the Warriors in round eight they lost Jed Cartwright and Oshea Tuiasau on the morning of the match, leaving them a man down with only 18 players travelling, then last weekend against the Raiders prop Max Elliott was concussed in the first tackle and did not return.
Tuisau is still injured (ankle) and Zac Spring (spleen) has not played since the round five. Now Woolf has lost five-eighth Karl Lawton and fullback Shaun Hudson for tomorrow’s clash with the Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium (3.15pm).
“We need to be better in the ruck area defence and slow the opponents attack down, to make it harder for them to score points,” he said.
“We also need to have a better response to things and make sure the kick-off defence is improved.
“There has to be more consistency throughout the full 80 minutes. We have played good footy for 60 minutes but in that 20 minute window it seems to get away from us.”
Deacon Fletcher, normally a hooker, will come into the side at five-eighth and Tevita Folau comes onto the wing, with Brian Kelly dropping to fullback.
“Brian Kelly will have to step up ahead of this week, has done a great job at fullback and hopefully he can find some form,” Woolf said.
“Hayden Schwass and Parahi Wilson have done a really good job in the back row, they have been really solid.”
The Titans and Sharks met in round four at Remondis Stadium and the Titans were disappointing after good start, going down 30-12. But they are ahead of Cronulla on the ladder and can get back in touch with the top eight with victory tomorrow.
Likely team: Brian Kelly, Christian Mika, Jed Cartwright, Josh Berkers, Tevita Folau, Deacon Fletcher, Brayden Torpy, Nathan Watts, Delayne Ashby, Max Elliott, Shane Wright, Hayden Schwass, Parahi Wilson (capt), Interchange: Ethan Page, Anthony Colman, Ben Mathiou, Jenan Wedderburn-Parish.