Last Start Losers Look To Bounce Back
Newcastle return home for the first time this season as it does battle with the visiting Gold Coast Titans.
Both clubs suffered first up defeats in Round 1 and will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible. Recording wins in the early rounds is vital and can be the difference between making the top 8 and missing out at the back end of the season.
Newcastle surprised the whole NRL by taking the attack to the NZ Warriors last week in New Zealand. They came within minutes of causing the boilover of the round, before some magic from the home side denied them.
This young Knights side has a lot of belief despite many pundits writing them off for season 2017.
They will have gained a lot of belief and confidence from that game despite the loss and will be looking to take that forward.
With a host of talented, young players in its squad, there is plenty to look forward to for Knights fans and a win on Saturday could give the Knights a springboard to boost 2017 from.
The Gold Coast Titans will be hoping for a clean slate as it travels down to Newcastle for this clash after a plethora of distractions, not to mention its first up loss to the Sydney Roosters last week where it put in a forgettable opening 40 minutes.
Jarryd Hayne has been unable to keep his name out of the headlines which is certain to be a distraction to the Titans regardless of what is being said in the media.
Gold Coast have a very talented roster, and if they can play to their strengths on Saturday (on the back of its forward pack and then use the silky skills of Hayne and Taylor) then they will have some success against the Knights. Time for the Titans to let their football do the talking and put this last week behind them.
Last Meeting: Gold Coast Titans 26 defeated Newcastle Knights 6 at McDonald Jones Stadium, Round 24, 2016.
The Titans have won the past two clashes against the Knights, although the Knights lead the all time series 9-7 in 16 clashes since the Titans inception in 2007.
In nine matches at Newcastle, the Knights hold a slender 5-4 advantage.
Who To Watch: For the home side, keep a close eye on Nathan Ross on the wing.
Ross was at his destructive best last game scoring two tries, making one line break and running for 179 metres.
With the absence of Dylan Phythian and Brendan Eliot filling the fullback role, Ross will be heavily relied upon for making metres out of the Knights half as well as finishing off attacking raids.
Especially look for Trent Hodkinson to go to the air, aiming at Ross to show case his talents collecting the high ball.
The Titans need Jarryd Hayne to fire if they want to walk away from Newcastle with the two competition points.
Much has been made of Hayne’s apparent lack of fitness and sluggishness in the media, but the fact of the matter is despite scoring a try last week against the Roosters, Hayne had only 11 carries (totaling a paltry 71 metres). He needs to get his hands on the ball at least double that and be heavily involved in the playmaking duties as well as returning the ball against a staggered defensive line of the Knights.
Having all the skills required to be a brilliant fullback week-in-week-out, Hayne needs to re-focus and put all his energy into helping the Titans bounce back to form.
The Favourite: Titans warm favourties in this game despite being the away side.
The Tip: After the impressive performnace of the Knights last week, I saw enough in them to suggest they will win this match. They are playing for each other and have a belief that wasn’t there last season.
Nathan Brown is a fantastic coach and can turn this all around, it starts with a win here.
Knights to cause the upset and kick off its 2017 campaign.
Knights by 6