Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan is looking for his side to take another positive step forward in tomorrow night’s pre-season fixture against the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium.
Brennan has named a near full-strength with Shannon Boyd, Tyrone Peachey and Ryley Jacks all selected to pull on the Titans colours for the first time.
A number of big-name Titans will also get their first minutes for 2019, with all looking to impress Brennan in what is the side’s final hit-out before Round 1, in just over two weeks.
The Titans only have captain Ryan James (knee) and Keegan Hipgrave (hamstring) unavailable due to injury.
The Titans will be matched by a very strong Broncos side missing only five-eighth Anthony Milford (shoulder) and Payne Haas (suspended) from their top squad.
Representative back-rower Matt Gillett will take to the field for the first time since Round 5 last year due to a fractured neck and shoulder reconstruction, while the clash with the Titans will be Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold’s second match in charge of the Broncos.
Brennan though is excited about seeing his new-look squad being tested under match conditions for the first time, and says he is keeping the door ajar for players to force their way into the 17 for Round 1 against the Raiders with good performances against the Broncos.
“There’s still a few question marks I want to have a look at,” he said. “Tomorrow is a bit of a dress rehearsal ahead of Round 1.
“The Broncos have named probably the best side they can, aside from the health and fitness of a couple.
“I’d prefer to go into a trial against a quality opposition and be tested. There’s a chance for a us to go away from tomorrow, have a look at the result and know what we need to work on.
“We’re going to be better as the year goes on, and it’s a chance to have a good test against one of the favourites of the competition.”
Brennan said he would use the Broncos trial to test players in different positions, before settling on his best combinations for the start of the season proper.
“Some guys will get some time in different positions to see what the combinations look like,” he said.
“Tomorrow’s a chance for AJ (Brimson) to come back and Ryley Jacks will have his first hit-out as well. They’ll get their chance and we get to work on those combinations.
“AJ will get a chance at fullback, as well as in the halves.”
Another selection headache for Brennan will come when he needs to select his outside backs, with new depth putting pressure on consistency and performance.
“It’s important the guys starting tomorrow get the first crack,” Brennan added.
“Tomorrow’s a chance to play yourself in, or play yourself out.
“Anthony Don is an example of that. Brenko Lee probably just got him last week, but Donny will be given a chance to wrestle the jersey back tomorrow.”
Members and fans from both clubs are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets to avoid long queues on arrival at Cbus Super Stadium. To purchase tickets, click here.
For those fans who can’t attend the match, titans.com.au will host a live stream of the match. Coverage starts from 6:25pm.
Titans v Broncos
Saturday, 2 March @ Cbus Super Stadium
For the full Titans squad, click here.
For the full Broncos squad, click here.