NYC PREVIEW: v Penrith Panthers
The Gold Training Gold Coast under-20s team have lost skipper Jed Cartwright (pictured) for tomorrow’s clash with Penrith, the club his father John became an international forward and his cousin Bryce is a key NRL player.
Cartwright has succumbed to a minor shoulder injury suffered in Monday’s clash with Sydney Roosters but hopes to miss only one match with the bye next weekend.
Ethan Roberts comes into the side and will go straight into Cartwright’s second row spot in the only change to Ben Woolf’s side.
The young Titans face their toughest test of the season against a Penrith side that lost just one of their 10 games and have a points-differential of 334, double any other team in the NYC or NRL competitions. In the past fortnight they have disposed of the Warriors 74-10 and the Raiders by the same score the weekend before.
However they promoted three key players, halfback Nathan Cleary, fullback Dylan Edwards and lock Tyrone May in their NSW Cup side which played last night, so they won’t be at full strength.
The Titans have also been given a difficult travel schedule and have to depart the Gold Coast on a 6am flight to Sydney for an 11.45am kick-off at Penrith, but several times last year they showed their tenacity on the road, beating highly fancied Penrith in Bathurst, the Broncos in Brisbane and the Cowboys in Townsville, and they will need that attitude tomorrow.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge but we have shown this season we can match any side we have come up against so far, but just not for 80 minutes,” Woolf said.
“We have Josh Rogers back at five-eighth who will add a lot of direction after missing Monday’s game, and Morgan Boyle was good against the Roosters in his first game since round 2, and will benefit from that run.
“We just have to compete consistently, and complete our sets well to minimise their opportunities.”
The team is: