Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans
Saturday, August 20, 3pm (AEST), Hunter Stadium, Sydney
|Best Bet: Gold Coast -14 ($1.90)
Other: Gold Coast/Gold Coast ($1.40)
Zeb Taia First Try ($21.00)
Last-placed Newcastle are limping towards the finish line and meet a resurgent Gold Coast team with finals on their mind and Jarryd Hayne rediscovering the game in what shapes as a bad situation for the Knights.
Newcastle get Nathan Ross, Jeremy Smith and Jsoh Knig back with Chris Adams, Pat Mata’utia and Jacob Safiti all dropped. Gold Coast are unchanged.
Newcastle have won 9 of the 15 all-time matches against Gold Coast but the Titans won their first matchup this year 30-12 in an Round 1 rout. A Titans win in this one would be the first time they have won two straight against Newcastle. Six of the last seven matches between the sides have failed to break 42 points. Anthony Don has scored four tries in his last four games against the Knights. Titans backrower Zeb Taia is a former Knight.
Newcastle have just one win and a draw all season and have set historical mark for the worst attack, worst defence and worst losing streak during the NRL era. They have conceded 36-plus in 3 of their last 4. Gold Coast are eighth on the ladder with a 10-10-1 record and a +8 differential. They rank ninth in attack and 10th in defence. They have won 3 of their last 7 but have conceded more than 18 just once in their last five.
Jarrod Mullen v Jarryd Hayne. Mullen is fighting for his career after another awful showing against Penrith. Hayne is just two games back in the NRL but has already produced a match-winning effort. This looks like a mismatch on paper but will no doubt be the one all will watch.
Stats That Matter
Newcastle are 8-13 ATS with an 11-10 over record while Gold Coast are 15-6 ATS with an 11-10 over record. The Titans have gone under three straight. Home underdogs in the final seven rounds of the season getting a start of 6.5 or more are 35-18 ATS while getting 8.5 or more are 21-12 ATS though the Knights failed to cover in the same situation last week. Overs in day matches over the final seven rounds of the year go over at a clip of 59% since 2011. Newcastle are 5-5 ATS at home this year and 3-2 ATS getting 12 or more. Gold Coast are an incredible interstate team going 28-12 ATS since 2013 and returning 73% in head-to-head betting. As an interstate favourite they are 3-1 ATS. This is the first time they have been favoured by more than a converted try.
The Titans are 7-0 when leading at halftime while the Knights are 0-14 when trailing at the break.
Newcastle just cannot be trusted. They dug deep in the first half against Penrith and looked sure to cover before capitulating in a second half that saw them concede nearly a point a minute. The Titans have plenty of firepower now and though playing against big home favourites is usually a worry it is the best bet here as Gold Coast continue to push their finals claims.
How It’s Shaping Up
Gold Coast by 24
Gold Coast -14 ($1.90)
Gold Coast/Gold Coast ($1.40)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
Zeb Taia ($21.00)
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