NRL Round 9 – Match 2 Preview: Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans

The first game on Sunday afternoon is another cracker and another tricky one to pick. The representative season just adds that extra spanner in the works that makes the NRL so thrilling this time of year as anything is possible.

A home game for the Knights at Energy Australia Stadium sees the team at number 11 on the NRL ladder host the in-form Titans, who with an impressive six wins this season sit at number two behind the Dragons.

Going on ladder position alone the Gold Coast should be a shoe-in here, but at the moment they are the underdogs at $1.95 with Ladbrokes.com.au while the Knights are at shorter odds of $1.88.

There are a number of factors why this is including the fact that the Gold Coast play far better at home and so are always a bit of a risk when travelling and the fact that they are yet to win at Energy Australia Stadium having lost their last two here.

Still, the Gold Coast are coming off two consecutive wins including their tidy victory ahead of the Panthers in Round 8, whereas the Knights may have been able to beat the Broncos last week, but they couldn’t defeat the Sharks in Round 7 which says enough.

The Titans need to keep on winning to remain where they are on the Ladder, and if they lose this match the boys from Penrith could actually be overtake the Gold Coast this round.

The rep games on Friday night won’t have quite as much impact on this game as with the Sea Eagles v Dragons match, with only three players from each side playing on Friday night.

The Gold Coast have Mark Minichiello in the City team facing off against Greg Bird and Anthony Laffranchi on the Country Origin side.

Newcastle’s skipper Kurt Gidley plays for the Australian team on Friday night before backing up on Saturday while Junior Sa’u and Zeb Taia have been named in the NZ team.

Newcastle are a good defensive side and will have big players like Akuila Uate and Cory Patterson right up there in the Titans face, which will make it more difficult for the Gold Coast to score.

We are guessing this will be a tight match, but with Scott Prince back and only set to improve the Titans are very confident and they have beaten better teams so we are going the Gold Coast here.

That said, the Knights must fight hard to get their own points on the board because a big loss here could see them drop right out of top eight contention and sink to the lower ranks of the ladder.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Knights $1.88 – Titans $1.95 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 9 Knights Team:

1. Kurt Gidley (c) 2. Akuila Uate 3. Junior Sa’u 4. Keith Luila 5. Cooper Vuna 6. Ben Rogers 7. Jarrod Mullen 8. Ben Cross 9. Issac De Gois 10. Dan Tolar 11. Cameron Ciraldo 12. Cory Paterson 13. Mark Taufua

Bench: 14. Matt Hilder 15. Zeb Taia 16. Richie Fa’aoso 17. Evarn Tuimavave; Reserves: 18. Con Mika

Round 9 Titans Team:

1. William Zillman 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Clinton Toopi 4. Joseph Tomane 5. David Mead 6. Greg Bird 7. Preston Campbell 8. Luke Bailey (c) 9. Nathan Friend 10. Brad Meyers 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Ashley Harrison

Bench: 14. Matthew White 15. Michael Henderson 16. Sam Tagataese 17. Jordan Atkins