With under a week to go until the NRL kicks off, we lay down an extended preview for each club. Below is a look at the Storm.
Outs: Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Storm)
For fans of the club, the less said about the Titans in 2019, the better.
They were awful. If not the for 2016 Knights, this could very well be remembered as the worst team of the modern era. They finished eight points behind the dire Dragons which says it all.
Their million dollar half Ash Taylor again failed to live up to his enormous talent. Tyrone Peachey played ok across a few a few positions but never once looked like making a regular role his own.
Nathan Peats was signed on the back of huge wraps and played three games in the Origin arena. They need something big out of him.
Aj Brimson’s relegation to bit part player confused most fans who saw him as the future in whichever position he chose to play.
Jai Arrow was the undoubted standout for an otherwise downright awful 2019 Titans side. Garth Brennon was sent packing after one year in the job but given the results and his decisions, can’t really count himself as too unlucky.
Predicted Best Player:AJ Brimson
I’m a huge fan of the young utility, however his 2019 was almost completely wasted.
This was through no fault of his though as he was shifted to suit retiring or out of form players. This meant he could never focus nor find his groove.
If he isn’t the clubs starting fullback once fit then I deadset give up. One of the very few freakish players on the Titans roster, the club needs to do everything it can to fast track their emerging star.
He’ll reward Titans fans with some highlight reel plays, of that I’m sure. Look for him to emerge as the Titans best by midseason.
Predicted Top Scorer: Phillip Sami
He’s been named at fullback this weekend but will most likely play in the centres or on the wing once Bronson is fit.
Sami is a wonderful talent. He was a rare highlight last year for the Gold Coast based club.
The deceptively quick outside back has 21 tries in his 41 games for the Titans, an incredible strike rate considering the sides woes during his stint.
Brimson and Watkins will push him but ultimately Sami will top the list with 12/13 tries.
I think I’m putting this lightly when I say the Titans needed to make a splash in the market if they were any chance of the finals finish in 2020. I also think it’s fair to say that they did not achieve this.
Sam Lisone is an underrated pick up and will start at prop, while Newtown Jets favourite Jaimin Jolliffe will make his way into the game from the interchange bench.
They weren’t really linked with many players so perhaps they had cap issues, but either way, they haven’t improved the squad moving forward.
Given the fact that their undoubted current best player Jai Arrow has already signed for the Bunnies for 2021 before a ball is even kicked this year says it all.
2020 Final Position: 15th
The Titans lost their influential leader in Ryan James for the season before a game could be played. They have a largely unsettled lineup and despite an encouraging run in the 9s, have hardly set the pre-season alight.
They need the best from their young halfback Ash Taylor, who looked to have addressed some issues off-field last year. I hope he comes good. For the Titan’s sake he needs to.
Brimson is a freakish talent and needs to be prioritised in a big way. Peachey needs to find his role, while Bryce Cartwright needs to realize his undoubted talent.
Everything needs to click, and quickly, if the Titans are going to be any chance of avoiding another wooden spoon battle.
They’ll improve on last season for the simple fact that they have to.
They’ll cause some big upsets in 2020 but they’ll cop some awful hidings. It’s just where they are right now.
Justin Holbrook has a big challenge ahead of him but the Titans need to back him for the duration of his contract to see any progress at all.
Unfortunately for long-suffering Titans fans I can’t see anything major this season in terms of success.