Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

NRL First Round of Finals Preview

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

NRL First Round of Finals Preview

Article excerpt

FRIDAY First qualifying final

GOLD COAST TITANS v WARRIORS at Skilled Park at 7.45pm

Head to head: Titans 5 Warriors 2

Last time: Titans 28-20 at Mt Smart Stadium (round 21, 2010)

Record in finals: Titans 0-2 Warriors 6-6

TAB SportsBet: Titans $1.60, Warriors $2.30 FootyTab: Warriors +4.5

Preston Campbell's absence due to a hamstring injury is a huge blow for the Titans. Skipper Scott Prince is likely to play despite nursing a shoulder problem, but Luke Bailey (thumb), Mat Rogers (hip), Brad Meyers (ribs), Steve Michaels (shoulder) and Ash Harrison (broken nose) are all struggling. The Warriors have been impressive in their last two outings, chalking up wins over Brisbane and Parramatta and will head to Queensland in good spirits. Tackling machine Micheal Luck is back following the gruesome gash across his knee sustained against Manly three weeks ago. The sight of the 18 cm wound left players from both sides recoiling in horror, but his return is a huge boost to Ivan Cleary's side. The Titans have a good record against the Warriors winning the last five encounters between the sides.

Key: Can the Titans' walking wounded make it onto the field? If not, there could be more finals heartache.

SATURDAY Second qualifying final

WESTS TIGERS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS at Sydney Football Stadium at 6:30pm

Head to head: Roosters 10 Tigers 7

Last time: Roosters 12 bt Tigers 8 at Campbelltown (round 8, 2010)

Record in finals: Tigers: 4-0 Roosters 43-45

TAB SportsBet: Tigers $1.85, Roosters $1.95

FootyTab: Roosters +1.5

A sell-out crowd is expected at the Sydney Football Stadium for this mouth-watering clash. There are match-ups all across the field, with Kiwi superstar five-eighth Benji Marshall's battle with newly-crowned Dally M winner Todd Carney the most eagerly anticipated of them all. The Tigers boast a 100% record in finals, but their last appearance was five years ago when they beat North Queensland in the grand final. Tigers coach Tim Sheens has a tremendous record in play offs, winning 63% of his games, as well as four premierships. Brian Smith has never won the big one, but he has shown his true worth as a coach with the job he has done with the Roosters this season. …

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