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20 Mar 2018 14:57
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Titans' Brennan wary of potent Raiders

    Canberra's firepower will provide Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan with his first NRL test on Sunday.

    - article from

    Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan will only need to look at Canberra's bench to see the threats posed as he prepares to coach his first NRL game on Sunday.

    He admitted his surprise at seeing playmaker Blake Austin left out of the Raiders' starting side for the first round.

    But with halfback Sam Williams returning for his third stint at the club he sees a balanced side laced with firepower on the edges.

    "Blake's a class player and himself and Aidan Sezer have had a strong combination but Sam Williams has been there three times, he knows the club and the players and I think they've got a really good mix there with what they're doing," Brennan said.

    "They've certainly got some strike (power).

    "That right edge with (Joseph) Leilua and (Jordan) Rapana are certainly quality, score a lot of tries and (Jarrod) Croker and (Nick) Cotric aren't slouches either."

    Rapana was in the NRL's top five for tries (21), equal second for line breaks (27) and second in tackle busts (147) last year, while Cotric was third in tackle busts (121) and scored 16 tries in his debut season.

    They will provide Brennan with a stern test as he look to establish his Titans in the post Neil Henry-Jarryd Hayne era.

    The undermanned Titans lost their last seven games last season as coach Henry, embroiled in a stand off with Hayne, was shown the door.

    Since then Brennan has done his best to fashion his own team, with fullback Michael Gordon, lock Bryce Cartwright, utility Mitch Rein and forwards Leilani Latu, Will Matthews and Jai Arrow all set for Titans debuts on Sunday.

    Captain Ryan James' shift to the second row will also offer a different look, while halves Kane Elgey and Ashley Taylor have been instructed to play on both sides of the ruck.

    "The style I want to play this year involves our back-rowers influencing the way we play," Brennan said of James' move.

    "Having bodies there in James and (Kevin) Proctor on the edge is going to trouble some teams, but don't be surprised to see him (James) spend some time in the middle."


    * The Titans lost their last seven games to finish the 2017 season in second-last position.

    * The Raiders are one of just four teams the Titans have a winning record (11-9) against.

    * The Titans made the least tackle busts (18.6) in 2017 while the Raiders scored the equal-second most tries (four) per game.


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