Titans out for revenge
GOLD Coast want the last laugh over Daly Cherry- Evans by making the man famous for a backflip end his finals dream with a flop.
That is part of the motivation for the Titans when they lock horns tonight with the man who reneged on a fouryear deal to become the NRL’s $ 10 million man at Manly.
Assistant coach Terry Matterson revealed the Titans were not specifically motivated by the Cherry- Evans contract soap opera but knew that victory tonight could put the first nail in Manly’s finals coffin.
That would be the least satisfaction the Titans could take over Manly and Cherry- Evans after his decision to renege put their 2016 plans in chaos.
Cherry- Evans is a man under immense pressure. He was dropped by Queensland for the Origin decider and the move proved a masterstroke as the Maroons racked up a record victory in his absence.
Manly have won just five games in 2015 and a loss to the Titans would leave them needing to win at least seven of their last eight games to even be a chance at the finals.
Cherry- Evans was the butt of jokes at the Titans’ charity ball on Friday night by comedian Vince Sorrenti but Gold Coast powerbrokers would get even greater joy if their team can all but end Manly’s season.
“They got a win last week so I know they’re at the stage of the year where they need to win and probably a loss will all but end their season,” Matterson said yesterday.
“( Cherry- Evans) is not a focus for us at all. Our focus is on our own performance and if we perform well that will give us a chance of winning. We’re at the back third of the season now and you know it’s important. Getting close enough isn’t good enough now.”
Gold Coast’s preparations suffered a setback yesterday when coach Neil Henry was left stranded in Sydney after his 6am flight back from a friend’s 50th birthday celebrations was delayed and he missed the final training session.
Hooker Beau Falloon ( wrist) and halfback Kane Elgey ( ankle) both trained with the team, but only Falloon is expected to make his return tonight.
“It will be pretty handy to have either or both.
“We will see what happens and play things a bit close to our chest,” Matterson said. ST GEORGE- Illawarra are adamant they can reignite their NRL campaign despite a big dent in their top- eight chances, after a 28- 8 loss to Cronulla.
Missing a host of key players including Benji Marshall, Trent Merrin and Josh Dugan, they suffered their fifth loss in a row in front of 12,792 fans at Remondis Stadium yesterday.
The Sharks jumped into ninth – only outside the eight on for- and- against – but admit they still remain a work in progress after failing to put the Dragons to the sword earlier.
The Dragons were missing 13 of their top 25 including Merrin ( suspension), Marshall ( hamstring), Dugan ( arm), Joel Thompson ( hamstring), Tyson Frizell ( back) and Dylan Farrell ( back).
On the flip side, the return of NSW stars Paul Gallen and Michael Ennis was telling for the Sharks as they hit a 16- 0 lead after 28 minutes.
Luke Lewis celebrated his 250th NRL match by scoring one of his side’s three first- half tries.
The second half was an arm wrestle and the Dragons weren’t without their chances.
The Sharks iced the game via Andrew Fifita – who was a standout running for a gamehigh 203m – and Ben Barba.
Having slid from first spot six weeks ago, the Dragons will end the round in seventh as one of four teams on 20 points, equal with the Sharks.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Cronulla's Ben Barba during the game with St George- Illawarra at Remondis Stadium.
BACKFLIPPER: Manly halfback Daly Cherry- Evans arrives.