The first thrilling finals game for 2010 will take place on Friday night when the fourth-ranked Titans host the fifth-ranked Warriors at Skilled Park.
New Zealand have been the real eye-catching team leading up to the finals this year, storming into premiership contention by making a mess of their rivals while winning four of their last five games.
Last week they enjoyed a confidence boost to take into the qualifiers when they smashed the Eels 26 – 12 and despite playing away from home here are still a top chance having proved they can travel and win this season.
The Gold Coast have also been super impressive this year answering many of their critics winning six of the last seven games for the season including their gritty 21 – 18 win over the Tigers last week.
Back in Round 21 the Titans held on to beat the Warriors by eight, which was their second win against the Kiwis this year after also getting the better of them in the opening round, but can they make it three from three against their across-the-Tasman rivals here?
This isn’t exactly a sudden-death showdown and both of these brilliant teams can progress onto next week’s semis even with a loss, but there are no guarantees so expect a huge match from both.
Currently the Gold Coast are the favourites at SportsBet paying $1.57 for a win while the Warriors have been abandoned by the punters drifting out to $2.40.
The odds are backed up by the history and stats as the Titans have never been beaten by the Warriors at Skilled Park.
If they remain calm under pressure as they did last week and ensuring Prince’s shoulder doesn’t cause any trouble and Preston Campbell returns as fullback, then with the home crowd behind them the Titans can win this.
But they will have to deliver 100% commitment in defence to hold off the try scoring weapons in the Warriors including Vatuvei who will be looking for a try to claim the club’s try scoring record of 78.
Footy Tip of the Match: A field goal will be kicked – check odds at SportsBet
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Titans $1.57 – Warriors $2.40 SportsBet
NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:
Mat Rogers, who had never kicked one before, has pulled out two field goals this year and with this one set to go down to the wire we are tipping that there will be a field goal during the match. Check out the odds for this and the other exotic bet types at SportsBet.
Finals Week 1 Titans Team:
1. Preston Campbell 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Steve Michaels 4. Clinton Toopi 5. Jordan Atkins 6. Matt Rogers 7. Scott Prince 8. Luke Bailey 9. Nathan Friend 10. Greg Bird 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Ashley Harrison
Bench: 14. Michael Henderson 15. Brad Meyers 16. Matt White 17. Bodene Thompson
Reserve: 18. William Zillman
Finals Week 1 Warriors Team:
1. Lance Hohaia 2. Kevin Locke 3. Brent Tate 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. James Maloney 7. Brett Seymour 8. Sam Rapira 9. Aaron Heremaia 10. Russell Packer 11. Simon Mannering 12. Lewis Brown 13. Jacob Lillyman
Bench: 14. Alehana Mara 15. Ben Matulino 16. Ukuma Ta’ai 17. Jesse Royal
Reserve: 18. Joel Moon