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Verrills eager to strike killer blow on Roosters' finals hopes

Sam Verrills has been waiting for this weekend to come for months.

Happily declaring the Titans' clash against the Roosters was the first fixture he looked for when the NRL draw was released back in November, the time has now come for the No. 9 to face off against his former side - a team that gave him his start and a NRL premiership ring at the ripe old age of 20.

Having played 48 games in the tricolours - including that famous grand final victory in 2019 - before joining the Gold Coast, there will be more on the line than just personal pride and bragging rights for Verrills in the Saturday afternoon affair.

He also has the chance to be part of the team that all but ends the Roosters' hopes of a finals berth in 2023 - something that has only happened once during Trent Robinson's 11-year reign.

"I did look at the calendar at the start of the year and circle this one because it's going to be a big one... going up against my mates and my old coach and everything," Verrills said.

"It is very special to verse an old team and it's going to be a big challenge and a big task because they're such a big club. 

"They're not where they want to be at the moment coming 14th, but they're not coming up here for a holiday. They're coming up here to try and beat us and we're doing the opposite.

"We're trying to hurt their season and try and make them miss out on playing finals, so it will be a big challenge this weekend, especially without Tino (Fa'asuamaleaui), but it's definitely been one I circled to want to play at the start of the year."

With much said publicly at the start of the season about Brandon Smith earning the Roosters' No. 9 jersey and the 24-year-old moving north to the Titans, he happily admits this weekend isn't about proving a point about his former club's recruitment decision... rather getting a much-needed win for his new team to keep their finals hopes alive.

"I think that was long ago what the Roosters did and their decision to go with Brandon. I think that's the business we live in and there's not really anything to prove at the moment," Verrills said.

"I've been a Titan now for a while and really enjoying my time up here, so there's not really a point to prove, but it definitely gives me motivation... I really want to win.

"Whenever you're versing your old team, you really want to beat them and I know this game is crucial for both teams."

Not only motivated by taking on his old team, Verrills is expecting to be one of the many players wanting to stand up this week in the absence of Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who was hit with a three-week suspension for a shoulder charge - not able to return until Round 24.

Although conceding the influential forward will be a big loss, the dummy-half is confident the rest of the playing group can fill the void left by their captain.

"He's our skipper and he's our got to when we're in trouble... he gets us out with those tough carries. It's going to be huge to miss him, but it's a big opportunity for the rest of us to stand up and really dig deep and perform well while he's not there," he said.

"There's a real next man mentality this year with all the injuries and suspensions we've had.

"Someone else will come in and do the role. We've got the likes of Isaac Liu, Moe Fotuaika and Dave Fifita who are all playing really, really good footy at the moment.

"We need to all collectively stand up and do our jobs, but even better this week without Tino."

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.