2023 NRL Season Preview: Gold Coast Titans

It might have been a disappointing 2022 but will the Titans rise once again?

Recap of last season

2022 was a disappointing year for the Titans, who finished well below expectations.

The side narrowly avoided the wooden spoon after claiming three of their six season wins in the last five games of the year.

Ranked fourth-worst in defence, it became clear early in the season that a return to finals was not on the cards for the Titans in 2022, and things quickly went from bad to worse.

As losses piled on, attention centred around the Gold Coast, as they lost Former captain Kevin Proctor (released) and utility Will Smith (requested release) during the season.

Captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui once again provided a silver lining for fans, as he was consistently best on ground for the team and the side's only State of Origin representative.

 

In 22 appearances, Fa'asuamaleaui showcased his defence with 655 tackles at a 92.6 percent efficiency, and was of seven current players who featured in the recent Rugby League World Cup

How can they improve

The Gold Coast's defence struggled to hold up against the rest of the competition all year, conceding 27.5 points per game, while their goal-scoring and average points per game (18.9) both ranked them fifth-last.

A few new recruits, strong representative showings and promising young guns will have Titans fans hopeful of a better performance from their team in 2023.

The Titans need more experience across their playing group, as their lack of such really showed throughout 2022.

While Fa'asuamaleaui performed well on the field, it was often just him handling the majority of the team's workload.

 

The Titans saw inexperience in key areas, including in the spine, with the oldest players being 23 and boasting limited NRL experience.

With gains in Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles) and Sam Verrills (Roosters), the  Titans can start to grow the experience within their side and share the workload being carried by Tino.

 

Continued development of the younger players will also be beneficial, given that many of them showed glimpses this year that impressed.

List changes

INS: Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles), Sam Verrills (Roosters), Joe Stimson (Bulldogs), Aaron Schoupp (Bulldogs), Chris Randall (Knights), Treymain Spry.

OUTS: Jarrod Wallace (Dolphins), Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins), Corey Thompson (retirement), Herman Ese'ese (Dolphins), Sam Lisone (Leeds), Greg Marzhew (Knights), Paul Turner.

Biggest Strength

The Titans have many strengths on paper, from representative-level forwards, second-row guns, eager youngsters and tough performers in their affiliate clubs gunning for spots, however, this has been the case for quite some time.

This season, the addition of Foran and Verrills will add some much needed experience and improved leadership, which will be crucial in turning the tide so the Titans can unleash all of the strength they have.

Biggest weakness

For the Titans, they have a multi-million dollar superstar in David Fifita that is yet to unlock their full potential from.

With rival clubs looming and no real success keeping Fifita there, they will be relying on a halves pairing including Kieran Foran to hopefully unlock Fifita's full potential.

Alongside this, the mindset of the Titans have let them down time and time again, as they lost the unlosable on numerous occasions, unable to halt any momentum built against them.

Rising Star

Despite making his debut in 2019, it was the back end of the 2022 season that saw halfback Tanah Boyd begin to look comfortable in first grade.

Gold Coast five-eighth Kieran Foran has likened Boyd to Sea Eagles star Daly Cherry-Evans, who Foran won the 2011 premiership with.

 

In the Titan's final game for 2022, Boyd slotted a golden-point field goal against the Warriors, and Foran claims the young gun's game management style is very similar to that of DCE.

In 2022 Boyd averaged 104.72 kicking metres and scored 3 tries and 23 goals across 18 matches.

Prediction

Despite having a lot of strength within the club, and boasting experience from Foran and Verrills, the Titans still seem to be missing the X-Factor that would give them the edge against some of the competition heavyweights, and it still seems likely that they will not be able to put up enough of a challenge in the important moments.

Ladder Prediction: 13th