Titans Senior Coach Craig Hodges has held his final media conference before tomorrow night’s match against the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium.
Here are the ‘Five Talking Points’ ahead of the match:
1. Running out of troops
Hodges said the list of walking wounded after a long season was taking a toll on the Gold Coast’s playing depth.
“We’ve got a few guys that need to get through training. We’re pretty beat-up, but we’ll put the best 17 we can out there,” Hodges said.
“Michael Gordon is a worry. He pulled up a little sore during the week and a few of our forwards pulled up a bit sore, so we’ll see how everyone pulls up after the session today.”
2. Nathan Peats and his versatility
Hooker Nathan Peats missed last week’s game against the Dragons because of a knee injury, and while he is on track to return against the Eels, it may not be in his usual role of dummy half.
“Peatsy should be ok. He’s one of five or six who we’ll need to make a call on (after the session),” Hodges said.
“Peatsy gives us that versatility. He can play lock if we have injuries in the middle.
“I know he’s not a big guy, but he’s a competitive little bugger. He started his career at lock and has shifted into hooker mainly because of his size.”
3. Taking effort in training into the games
Hodges commended the squad for their application at training late in the season, and says it will only be a matter of time before the results are seen on the field during games.
“Training has been outstanding,” he said. “The numbers have been great and the data everything has gone up dramatically and the general enthusiasm has been great.
“We’re getting ourselves up to NRL standard. Injuries and that type of stuff doesn’t help, but I’m very confident you’ll see a good performance by the side.”
4. Player fatigue after three games in 12 days
Hodges said it was difficult managing player workloads while simultaneously trying to bed down new playing structures.
“That’s the challenge – to try and create new habits when you can’t get out on the training paddock a lot,” he said.
“We watch a lot of video and identify stuff and everybody nods and agrees, but you need to do it to create a new habit.
“We had one training session this week out on the field and then a light run today. It is hard to create those new habits.
“And as you said, our third game in 12 days there is a fatigue factor. We’re heading towards the end of a tough year.”
5. Containing the massive Eels forward pack
Hodges says it will be the Titans little men that hold the key towards containing Parramatta’s big set of forwards.
“You’d think that we’ll need to get up and take time and space away from them,” Hodges said of the Eels pack. “I don’t think we can sit back on our heels and wait for them.
“We’re a bit smaller and mobile so we definitely need to get up off the line and take that time and space away from them so they can’t get wound up.
“Our smallest guys, I know that sounds a bit funny, but it’s Mitch Rein, it’s Nathan Peats, if he’s out there. They’re energetic, competitive little buggers.
“Jai (Arrow), Moe (Fotuaika) and (Jai) Whitbread, that’s their bread and butter, so they need to do it collectively and do it together. But I expect Rein and Peats to lead that energetic side of things.”