We go to Rockhampton this week needing to show to ourselves that we can respond to a loss and get back to the consistent effort that saw us grind out two good wins to start the season.
We’ll have a few forced changes to our line-up but it’s a bonus to have our captain Cheyne Whitelaw and major recruit Christian Hazard on deck for the first time this season.
With the Titans heading straight from Sydney to Auckland after their game against South Sydney, with a five-day turnaround before they play the Warriors, we will be without hooker Mitch Rein and middle forward Keegan Hipgrave who will travel with their extended squad.
With Treymain Spry missing through concussion after being hit in a tackle by Bears centre Sami Sauiluma, an action that saw him suspended for four weeks, it means we only have prop Leilani Latu from the Titans’ full-time squad to take on the Capras.
But with that comes the fact we will take a squad to ‘Rocky’ that has trained together all week, other than Leilani, and been with us all through the pre-season.
Christian and Cheyne are both great talkers on the field and have plenty of experience so that should really help our on-field communication and Cheyne gives us that extra physicality and genuine leadership too.
We competed pretty well against Burleigh Bears for 65 minutes and before we disappointedly fell away and conceded three late tries on our right edge.
Our defence was aggressive and consistent for a long while in that game, and they didn’t break us down too much, especially the first half when we leaked one try when they got around us and the other was from a pretty good kick. But we fell away in our processes while they stuck to theirs when the game was there to be on and we have to learn from that.
In attack we were a bit disorganised when we got up their end and lost a bit of patience after we didn’t get results early. Hopefully, having Christian and Cheyne there to settle things will help us.
The fact is that we got 32 points put on us at Pizzey Park, which we all know is not good enough, so now comes the measure of our character in how we respond.
While it’s good to have NRL quality players like Mitch Rein, who played for 80 minutes in our past two games, and Keegan Hipgrave who played against the Blackhawks, the Titans players don’t train with us until the captain’s run session – the last of the week.
We go into this game with a ‘spine’ of Talor Walters (who was our players’ player against Burleigh), Lindon McGrady, Christian and Jack Cook all having trained regularly together since Christmas and all sessions this week. That’s a first for this season and hopefully we show the benefit of that.
Kody Parsons will come in for Treymain. Kody has been playing at Tugun but has only had the one game as they had a bye last weekend. But he went well for us last season and is familiar with most of the team.
The Capras started the season with a good win against Souths Logan but have been soundly beaten by Wynnum Manly and Mackay since. So they’ll be keen to regain form at home, so we know we’re in for a tough match.