Here we are again as the season previews continue – today, it’s the Gold Coast Titans that will be analysed, as they look to make the finals.

2013 marks the start of what the Titans hope is a period of successful, consistent results at the club, following 2 years of inconsistency (culminating in a wooden spoon and an 11th placed finish).
With the makings of a tremendous side, the Titans will be hopeful that some of their new recruits can make a significant impact over the course of the season and form combinations with their current veteran players, as they look to make the finals for the first time since 2010.

Already sporting a side in 2012 that was filled with talent, the club have made some handy additions for 2013, signing Rabbitohs back-rower Dave Taylor, former Eels fullback Marmin Barba, troubled half Albert Kelly who is looking to make amends, Terrigal Sharks junior Mark O’Dare and English fullback Matt Russell.

Whether the additions prove to be the difference for the Titans in 2013, one thing is for certain – they boast an impressive line-up across the park, particularly their forward pack.
It could be argued that the Titans have one of if not the best forward pack in the competition, with Myles and Bailey in the front-row, and Taylor, Minichello and Bird in the back-row.
Couple that with talented prop Luke Douglas, emerging forward Ryan James, under-rated back-rowers in Luke O’Dwyer and Ben Ridge and new addition Brad Takairangi from the Roosters, the Titans may well be sporting the NRL’s best forward rotation.

The only downside to the Titans forward stocks, however, was the news that prop Matt White will miss the entire 2013 season after rupturing his ACL in a trial game.
With what seems like limited depth overall in the forward pack, should injuries strike, it will be a cause for concern as to who the replacements will be and what impact they may have on the game.

The Titans are also looking to get more out of some players in 2013, particularly Jamal Idris, who had a bit of an inconsistent season last year, his first in Titans colours.
With the potential to be one of the most damaging centres in the game if he plays to his full ability and touted as a back-rower in the long-term, Idris will have to ensure that he has a good season in 2013 or he may find himself being replaced given the increased back-line depth the Titans now have, after the emergence of promising youngsters like Anthony Don, Jahrome Hughes and Hymel Hunt.

Another worry for the Titans, is their signing of Albert Kelly. Kelly’s off-field indiscretions are well-known, resulting in the 21-year old being sacked from the Parramatta Eels, the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights, all over the course of a few years.
At 21, it’s hard to believe that Kelly is still yet to cement a spot in a side, given that he’s been around the NRL and NRL circles since he was about 17-18.
How times change, however, as the young half will have a chance to cement a starting halfback role at the Titans with the departure of Scott Prince – as he looks to impress in the trial for the Gold Coast.

One thing on Kelly is for certain, though – with this likely his last chance to crack a first-grade side based on his prior indiscretions, if he doesn’t take it or steps out of line in anyway, the Titans won’t hesitate to release or sack him.
Do you believe Kelly will stand up and fill the void left by Scott Prince, or will we see an inconsistent Kelly eventually dropped from the starting side and replaced?

That leads to the next point on the Titans – their halves.

The departure of Scott Prince from the club was well documented in rugby league circles, leaving the Titans with a choice – do they go out and look for another halfback or make do with what they have?
As their team line-ups suggest, they decided to go with what they have, thus placing a tremendous amount of pressure on the likes of Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Beau Henry and Jordan Rankin.

Sezer, who made his debut last year and performed quite well in his first season, will now be the most experienced player in the halves for the Titans, requiring the young man to take ownership of the side in that regard. The question is – is he up to it, can he produce the same consistency that he did in 2011 and can he deal with the added weight of pressure and expectation placed on his shoulders?

Whilst that question remains to be seen, the Titans will be hoping that their young halves can step up in the absence of Prince, as well as being hopeful that the senior players around the inexperienced halves can act as mentors and help them out, especially when the game is on the line.

All in all, the Titans have a talented side across the park but questions will continue to be asked about whether an inexperienced halves duo is the answer – for the sake of Titans fans, you would hope that it is, as they look to make the finals for the first time since 2010.

1. William Zillman
2. Anthony Don
3. Jamal Idris
4. Kevin Gordon
5. David Mead
6. Aidan Sezer
7. Albert Kelly
8. Nate Myles
9. Matt Srama
10. Luke Bailey
11. David Taylor
12. Mark Minichello
13. Greg Bird

14. Luke O’Dwyer
15. Luke Douglas
16. Ashley Harrison
17. Ryan James

By ricky

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