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Forward pack rumble: Mackay in-store for big man showdown

Fans will be treated to a battle of epic proportions at BB Print Stadium in Mackay.

A re-match of the 2021 elimination final which saw the Roosters progress to the semi-finals by the narrowest of margins, the Titans will be out for revenge against the boys from Bondi who are calling tropical North Queensland home for the week.

With two of arguably the best forward packs going toe-to-toe for the two competition points, all eyes will be on the big men in both the Titans and Roosters outfits as both sides chase a much-needed win to get their seasons back on track.

The Titans have inspirational skipper Tino Fa'asuamaleaui leading the way in the middle third as one of the club's best, averaging 131 metres with ball in hand per game - 56 of those post-contact - whilst busting the line on at least two occasions per 80 minutes in his usual 12-13 hit-ups.

In attack, those numbers are exemplary, but it's his relentless effort in defence that deserves most of the credit.

The captain is averaging 32 tackles a game at just under an impressive 94 percent efficiency. He's also coming off the back of a season-high 40 efforts against the table-topping Penrith Panthers last Friday.

Matched up against live-wire Victor Radley, the Titans leader trumps him in attack with more hit-ups, metres and tackle breaks a game, although the inflictor has been stoic in defence, getting through an average of 35 tackles a game at 93 percent as a solid No. 13.

Tino breaks the line and draws the Titans closer

If fans aren't licking their lips at the battle of the locks, the contest between both starting props is one that will satisfy your taste buds... Moeaki Fotuaika and Isaac Liu against Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Lindsay Collins.

Liu has the upper hand given the former Rooster played 201 NRL games for the tri-colours before joining the Titans at the start of the season.

The 31-year-old enforcer has been a solid addition to his new club, playing an average of 45-50 minutes a game, making over 100 metres a game and getting solid work in defence with 24 tackles per outing at 95 percent.

Ready to clash against his fellow hard man Waerea-Hargreaves, everyone in the rugby league world knows what the New Zealand prop is capable of doing on the footy field, which may include going after his former teammate.

"I've been looking forward to playing them," Liu said.

"Against my old club, a few of the boys are going to go after me and I'll be doing my best to play the best footy I can for my new club."

Roosters v Titans: Round 9

On the other side of the field is Origin prop Moeaki Fotuaika, who not only has his eyes firmly set on playing well for the Titans, but the chance of a run-on jersey for the Maroons come Game II in early June with the injury to Christian Welch.

The 22-year-old has been a silent achiever for the club this year, flying under the radar with some top performances without much fanfare. 

This has included just under 120 metres a game with an incredible 48 of those post-contact each week in an average 10 hit-ups a game. His work in defence has been even more exceptional, making 28 tackles a game at a near-perfect 98 percent efficiency.

Running at Fotuaika is another Maroons star in Collins, who will have a point to prove against his Origin teammate in a potential showdown for the Queensland No. 10 jersey.

Wanting to put his best foot forward after an ACL injury kept him out for a majority of the 2021 season, the Brisbane Brothers junior has been a metre eater and defensive brick wall for Trent Robertson each week.

Fotuaika knows it'll be a good challenge for him and his fellow middles this weekend.

"I think coming up against a good forward pack like the Roosters, you always want to test yourself. They've been one of the top teams for the majority of the last couple of year," Fotuaika said.

"It'll be good as a forward pack and as a team to test ourselves against the great players that they have in that Roosters side."

The battle of the big boys is just one of the many reasons to be at BB Print Stadium for the Round 9 clash and the Gold Coast is hoping to see plenty of fans pack the grandstands for the clash. You join them with our Away Legion membership package - getting you all the Titans member benefits plus two tickets to this Saturday's game in Mackay.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.