Category: Titans


Laffranchi gives injury an extra week

Mended Titan Anthony Laffranchi has the Broncos in his sights after admitting another week on the sidelines would ensure they were no setbacks yesterday. Confident he could get through this weekend’s match-up with Melbourne, Laffranchi, who suffered a setback in his comeback from off-season shoulder and wrist reconstructions when he tweaked a hamstring, said with only five days before the meeting with Brisbane the risk was not worth taking. “I’m definitely fit and if I had my choice I would like to get on the plane for Melbourne,” Laffranchi said. “I’m back to full training this week but as they say with a hamstring ‘if it feels good give it that extra week’.” “Coming off the back of Melbourne and the short turnaround if I can get the kilometres up this week and get back running with the team (next) Monday I should be right to get stuck into Brisbane.” Faced with the toughest road trip in the league when they meet the Melbourne Storm in the Victorian capital on Saturday night, the Titans will name the same squad who went down to world champions St George Illawarra last weekend. The only change could come with the return of 18th man Mark Minichiello, who is expected to travel south and force his way into the 17-man lineup after getting another week of rest last weekend. Continue reading

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For the next 26 weeks of the NRL Dream Team Competition, I’ll be reviewing the rounds top performers.  To make it in this list each week a player must have a season average of 45 or more and score 50 points or more in the review round.  Mid season, I’ll review the top performers in all the key positions using a different criteria for each position.

There were mixed results across the board in round 1, a few players ventured into the 40’s but only eight broke into the 50’s.  Some high priced stars were disappointing – Corey Parker, Nathan Hindmarsh and Paul Gallen and on the other side of the coin Ashley Harrison (62) and Aiden Tolman (60) were exceptional – the only players in the round to break 60 and for Ashley Harrison, the only Titan to break 40. 

Johnathan Thurston returned to Dream Team form; scoring 55 points and no doubt will make the Cowboys faithful very happy.  It was a case of what could have been though – JT loosing 16 points from mistakes, the worst from the Top Performers.  Continue reading

Titans stick with Capewell at 6

Titans coach John Cartwright liked enough of what he saw of Luke Capewell to persevere with him in the No.6 jumper despite his losing debut against St George Illawarra on Saturday night. Cartwright also declared the Preston Campbell experiment off the bench as a back-up hooker a big success although cautioning how much punishment he could subject his new lightweight super-sub to in the role. Capewell showed enough to give Cartwright hope he will fill the key role left vacant by the retirement of dual international, Mat Rogers, although he has a bit of work to do on his kicking game to take help some pressure of Scott Prince. “I was really happy with Luke. I thought he showed in the second half especially some broken field stuff to suggest he’s going to be a good player,” said Cartwright. “He’s finding his way. “He’s a real quiet kid, a country boy but the quicker he gets comfortable within the side, he is going to offer us a lot.” Capewell roamed around hanging off players in the ruck looking for an opportunity to use his speed and clever footwork. Continue reading

Cartwright issues challenge to Bodene Thompson

John Cartwright has backed Bodene Thompson to become a regular starter in the Titans pack after declaring the position was “his to lose” ahead of tonight’s season opener against premiers St George Illawarra. Thompson will pack down alongside Greg Bird and Ashley Harrison in the backrow tonight and Cartwright was yesterday confident the emerging Kiwi talent would become a key component in their make-up this season. A graduate of the Titans’ Toyota Cup system, Thompson became a key contributor with 17 appearances last season but the coach expects more from the 22-year-old after an impressive off-season and trial form. “(Bodene’s) one of those young fellows who has been in our system since he was 16 or 17,” Cartwright said. “He’s been very fortunate that he has such a good-quality group around to learn from (but) it’s going to take a lot to shift him from the starting spot. “He was pushing all last year and he has an opportunity now and it’s up to him to hold it.” Continue reading

Nathan Friend to miss the first three rounds

Tenacious Titans hooker Nathan Friend has officially been ruled out for the first three rounds of the Gold Coast’s premiership campaign after meeting with a specialist about his injured shoulder. While there was speculation he could bolt back into the selection frame for Round 1 against the Dragons, the hard-working rake now has to come to terms with being sidelined for a further month. A disappointed Friend yesterday said while he hoped to mount a comeback earlier, medical advice was he bide his time rather than risk further damage. Friend said he would resume contact training after the club’s Round 3 clash with the Broncos and push for selection for the Round 4 away trip to Canberra to do battle with the Raiders. Continue reading

Capewell gets 6 for Titans

The form of budding pivot Luke Capewell has relieved one of Gold Coast coach John Cartwright’s biggest headaches ahead of their NRL season opener. But the Titans mentor admitted he would be wrestling with another major decision right up to Saturday night’s kick-off against the Dragons. Ex-South Sydney player Capewell gave Cartwright no choice but to slot the 21-year-old into the vacancy created by Mat Rogers’ retirement. It ensured Cartwright didn’t lose too much sleep over who to replace the dual international, with veteran Preston Campbell and Greg Bird also being in the initial mix. “He had a really good off-season, he didn’t miss any time – I thought he was the most impressive in the No.6 jersey of the guys competing for that position in the trials,” Cartwright said. Continue reading

1. Anthony Mitchell (Eels) – The Eels have struggled to find a regular dummy-half in recent years but with the emergence of 21-year-old Anthony Mitchell in late 2010 their search could soon be over. The highly-rated young hooker boasts all the skills – lightning service, a crisp passing game and speed off the mark. Likely to be part of a three-man rotation for the Eels this year, he will battle for the No.9 jersey with Matt Keating and new arrival Casey McGuire but the general consensus is that the hooking spot will become his alone in the long term. Mitchell played three games for the Eels at the back end of the 2010 season, scoring two tries, and was selected in the Indigenous All Stars side earlier this year.

2. Siuatonga Likiliki (Knights) – Boasting one of the greatest names in rugby league history – right up there with the likes of former Bronco Steele Retchless and South Sydney’s Bronco Djura – Siuatonga Likiliki made a name for himself playing for the Warriors’ premiership-winning Toyota Cup side last season when he scored 19 tries in 25 games. Now with Newcastle, the 20-year-old speedster already has tongues wagging in the Hunter where he will join Akuila Uate in a lightning-fast backline. A Junior Kiwis representative in 2010, Likiliki was named in both the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Cup Team of the Year. Continue reading

Bodene Thompson tipped for a big year

A young Titan has been anointed by the King. Gold Coast forward Bodene Thompson has been tipped for a huge NRL future by no less a judge than Wally Lewis. The league great believes Thompson, 23, who played for New Zealand Maori at the end of last season, is one to watch and could emerge as a superstar. The product of the famed Keebra Park High league nursery has played only 20 NRL games but Lewis has already marked him as a star of the future. “He’s got some skills and I like that he’s got a bit of s–t in him,” he said. “He doesn’t mind the aggressive style of play and that speaks volumes for the kid’s future. I think he has got enormous potential.” With veteran back-rowers Anthony Laffranchi and Mark Minichiello expected to miss the opening weeks of the season, there is a chance for Thompson to lock down a starting berth. Continue reading

The match review committee examined three other  incidents from the weekend’s trials.

Sydney Roosters forward Nate Myles was cleared of a lifting tackle on Wests Tigers back Wade McKinnon, while Cronulla recruit Jeremy Smith was deemed not to have tripped Newcastle’s Mark Taufua.

Penrith half Luke Walsh’s sickening hit on Parramatta’s Daniel Mortimer, which also sparked a melee, was deemed legitimate.

Gold Coast youngster Ryan James will need to wait another day to know whether he faces a second pre-season suspension after he was placed on report in the trial against North Queensland.

Footage of the Titans-Cowboys match will not be available until Tuesday.

We are just 12 days from the kick off to the 2011 NRL/NEX Dream Team competitions so there isn’t much time left to work out that all important campaign strategy. 

In Part 1 – I talked about the Raiders and the advantage they had for coaches in the 2011 season.  They are not the only team with an advantage when it comes to the early bye rounds.  Another team with a similar advantage is the Warriors

The Warriors have their 1st bye in round 12 with the Raiders.  Be wary though – if you stack your team with players from the Raiders and Warriors it may cost you a win in your round 12 head-to-head clash in your individual league or get you knocked out of the Eliminator Competition.   

If you are considering the Warriors, they have some good scoring options to choose from.  New players to the club, old players, players returning from injury and a couple of cheap options to make you money and trade up to those high priced stars.  The down side to the Warriors is they share their round 17 bye with the Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Storm, Tigers, and the TitansContinue reading