The Aquis Titans have no illusions about the tough task ahead on the Central Coast today against a Sydney Roosters side that has won five of their past six games, have a backline entirely of State of Origin or Kiwi Tests players and a pack with two Origin and two Kiwi representatives.
It’s also the NRL’s second best defensive team – the Roosters who have conceded only two tries a game (32 in total) and the worst in the Titans who, with Parramatta (before this round), have conceded 60.
Yet Neil Henry’s Titans head down yesterday with confidence from the fact, even with injuries taking a toll, they have competed well against every opposition except for the final 20 minute periods against Penrith (round 2) and Raiders (round 9) and last Saturday in the final five minutes only against the Warriors when their two late tries blew the score out to 32-14.
“We have to be creative but we’ll take a match plan which we think can win the game,” said Henry.
The Titans will have to compete as well as they have this season, around 80 per cent or more, and find a kicking game in the absence of lead halves Aidan Sezer and Kane Elgey, and match the Roosters pack to minimise the scope their all-star backline might get.
It will be up to halves Josh Hoffman (pictured) and Daniel Mortimer to provide that kicking game, although Chad Redman has an effective kick out of dummy half and James Roberts may be called upon. Mortimer will take over from Sezer with the goalkicking.
David Mead has been in fine form at fullback and will look to inject himself into the game more often from the back while centre Nene Macdonald will be out to impress against the club he was playing for only two weeks ago.
It is skipper Nate Myles’ 200th NRL match, against his former club, so he will be inspired to lead from the front particularly in the absence of Ryan James who will miss the game because of a shoulder injury.
HEAD TO HEAD
Played 12; Titans 7, Roosters 5.
At Central Coast Stadium: Played 1; Titans 1, Roosters 0.
TRIES SCORED: Titans 52, Roosters 50.
TRIES CONCEDED: Titans 60, Roosters 32.
COMPLETION RATES: Titans 72%, Roosters 73%.
GOALKICKING: Titans 77%, Roosters 80%.
MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee: Gavin Morris. Assistant Referee: Adam Devcich. Touch Judges: Dave Ryan and Tim Roby. Video Referees: Jared Maxwell and Daniel Irvine.
Televised: Fox Sports, live 2pm.