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Hunt returns to repeat history in blockbuster Cup curtain-raiser

Former NRL great Karmichael Hunt will break a 14-year drought when he returns to Cbus Super Stadium this weekend and there's no better occasion that awaits the now Souths Logan Magpies coach.

Last playing a part of a rugby league match at Robina in 2009 - breaking Gold Coast hearts in the Broncos' 40-32 qualifying final win - the 128-game NRL star will hope to repeat history when he aims to take down the ladder-leading Burleigh Bears in a top of the table Hostplus Cup blockbuster as a curtain-raiser to the Titans' Round 14 clash against the Rabbitohs.

"Burleigh are obviously the team to beat and have consistently been at the top of the ladder over the last couple of years," Hunt said.

"For my group to come down here and to be able to play at Cbus before an NRL game, everyone's excited and the boys are pumped.

"It's a fantastic opportunity. We have some Broncos affiliates that obviously get to play at stadiums like here but for the boys who are genuine Q-Cup players, they might not get another opportunity to play at a NRL stadium."

With both teams having won their last five straight matches and only having one loss each in the defeat column, the stakes will rise even more when the two combatants square off at 3pm on Saturday - especially with the talent on show, including a number of NRL stars likely to be playing such as Tristan Sailor and Jordan Pereira for Souths Logan and Ken Maumalo and Thomas Mikaele for Burleigh.

"You should see some quality footy," Hunt said.

"We're looking forward to testing ourselves against Burleigh who are traditionally a really strong team.

"Our group are starting to come together and we've been able to get some wins on the trot but this weekend presents a new challenge.

"Their attack is definitely a focus point for us. They have played some teams recently on the bottom of the ladder, but irrespectively, their structures are going to be the same when they play us this week.

"They've got some handy players there and we're going to come up with a plan to try and defend them, I'm but expecting a really tough contest.

"We've got to make sure that our efforts are up to standard. I think the last couple of weeks, we've got the job done but I can't say we've played the most pleasing kind of footy that we're after, so this week, we'll definitely look to step it up a notch."

Burleigh Bears and Gold Coast Titans outside back Ken Maumalo.
Burleigh Bears and Gold Coast Titans outside back Ken Maumalo. ©Dylan Parker/QRL

Burleigh assistant coach Michael Witt feels his Bears side is in a similar situation to their upcoming opponents and is hoping to see a return to playing their best this weekend, but the former NRL half has taken their wins despite not playing their best footy as an extremely constructive attribute at this stage of the season.

"I think it's a positive thing that we've been winning footy games and we still haven't played our best footy," he said.

"Hopefully we can turn that on this weekend because we're playing against a really talented team and we need to be close to our best to get a win."

He also echoed Hunt's sentiments around playing at Cbus Super Stadium and the excitement his side has to be the curtain-raiser to the Titans in front of a strong crowd at home.

"Just looking at the pitch, it's like carpet here, so it's definitely a little bit different to Pizzey Park," Witt said.

"The boys are excited to be out here and play on the big stage before a big NRL game."

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.