U20s PREVIEW: Titans v Dragons
The Gold Training under-20s will welcome back forward leader Shane Wright for the first time this season after the back-rower who played in the Auckland Nines and two NRL trials in the pre-season has recovered from a shoulder injury.
The 20-year-old will make his comeback off the bench in a side needing victory to get back into the top eight and regain momentum after ending a three-match winning streak with successive losses.
Greg Leleisiuao, who also had the benefit off-season stint with the NRL squad, also returns but injuries to Morgan Boyle and Brian Kelly means Ben Woolf has still not had the full complement of his six NRL-trained contingent together yet this season.
However, the emergence of rookies who have held their own in the Holden Cup has given the team a good base.
And none has been more impressive that lock Max King who has been probably the form forward this season. Last Sunday against Cronulla he had the excellent stats of 225 metres from 21 carries in his 60 minutes on the field.
“He has been probably our most consistent forward and has really applied himself since stepping up to this level,” said coach Woolf.
“His workload is tremendous and he makes good decisions.”
The Dragons returned to form last weekend with a 38-12 victory over the Broncos who beat the Titans the round earlier. They led 20-0 at half-time and went on to snatch their second victory of the season.
Brayden McGrady, who had played fullback in the first five rounds, also returns but has been picked on the wing while Sam Swift is back too.
Skipper Jed Cartwright deserves a change of luck after failing to complete a game since round one because of minor issues including his ankle injury flaring up, concussion and a head split last Sunday. His form has been really solid when he has had some time on the field and he has revelled in the captaincy responsibilities.
Woolf is hoping that Boyle, who was outstanding against the Tigers and Raiders in rounds 3 and 4, will return next round.
Tomorrow’s game kicks-off at 12.40pm and for those who can’t make it to Cbus Super Stadium, it will be telecast live on Fox Sports.
The team to take on the Dragons is:
1- Tyronne Roberts-Davis
2- Brayden McGrady
3- Phillip Sami
4- Greg Leleisiuao
5- David Pritchard
6- Josh Rogers
7- Tye Barry
8- Kurt Bernard
9- Corey Manicaros
10- Nathan Watts
11- Kelepi Faukafa
12- Jed Cartwright
13- Max King
14 – Ethan Roberts
15 – Shane Wright
16 – Sam Swift
17 – Simione Fatefahi