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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Will the Storm bounce back or can the Gold Coast cause a Titanic upset?
The opposite ends of the ladder meet this week on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park, but both are coming off disappointing home losses last week. For the Gold Coast it was another tough night in a season that has been full of them, while for the Storm it was an extremely uncharacteristic display of complacency. Both teams will be looking to bounce back for very different reasons, almost the entire playing staff of the Gold Coast are on notice before next season and could literally be playing for their future, and the Storm will be looking to bounce back strongly to regain some momentum before heading in to what will be another gruelling post season.
21 games, 4 wins and a -223 points differential is not pretty reading for anyone, and by and large the season hasn't been pretty at Robina. Putting these cold, hard statistics aside for a second there is light at the end of the tunnel for this Gold Coast side. In 2020 a man by the name of Justin Holbrook will be taking the reins of the club, this is a man who has almost 100 games of top flight coaching in the UK under his belt and remarkably has a winning percentage of 80%. Sporting almost the exact opposite record this season, we have the Storm who have spent a large portion of the year marching towards a minor premiership, this was until their last two home games which has seen them collect two losses from those two games. Whilst these teams are at opposite ends of the ladder there is still lots at stake in this contest.
Last meeting: Round 18 2019 - Titans 18 Storm 38
A fast start from the Gold Coast couldn't be maintained with the Storm keeping them scoreless in the second half to run out convincing winners.
Who to watch: For the Gold Coast, Ryley Jacks returns to a ground he used to call home to take on the player who ultimately took his spot in Brodie Croft. If the Titans are to cause an upset Jacks will need to exercise great control in steering his side around the park.
For the Storm, the loss last week came on the back of an inability to regain the intensity of the first half and were run over the top of by the Raiders, whilst no single player was at fault there was a lack of go forward in the second half. He has been playing like a man possessed in the last few weeks and has been putting his international team mate in the shade, I expect that Nelson Asofa-Solomona will be front and centre to the Storm coming out of the blocks firing.
The favourite: The last time the Storm were accused of being un-Storm like by Craig Bellamy they put 64 past Parramatta during the magic round, whilst they may not rack up as many this week I expect they will have the Gold Coast covered.
My tip: Consecutive losses at home, coach questioning the mindset of the team, finals just around the corner, playing dead last, this all points to a dominant win however these games often don't go as expected. Melbourne 24-4 winners. Storm by 20.
17. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 18. Curtis Scott 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 1. Jahrome Hughes 6. Cameron Munster 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tui Kamikamica 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Max King
1. Michael Gordon 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jai Arrow 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Nathan Peats 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Jarrod Wallace 18. Bryce Cartwright
Referees: Chris Butler, Dave Munro; Sideline Officials: Clayton Sharpe, Liam Nicholls; Video Referees: Henry Perenara, Beau Scott;