Titans expect opposition to attack from left
15 March, 2018, 12:00 am
GOLD COAST centre Dale Copley knows defensive statistics don’t lie. And that’s why he’s expecting opponents to target the Titans’ left side defence in the early weeks of the competition.
Yet he is confident that the team’s ‘leaky’ left edge will hold tight, particularly as they get more game time together.
It’s no secret that opposing teams targeted the Titans’ left last season that had several changes to its make-up but most times featured Copley at left centre with half Kane Elgey inside him.
According to NRL.com Stats, 46 per cent of tries conceded by the Titans were down the left side, compared to 36 per cent on the right. Copley, who only joined from Sydney Roosters in round four, is listed as the defender most responsible for ‘try causes’ with 30, ahead of Elgey with 19.
They only played eight games as a left-side combination, with an array of wingers and left back-rowers either side of them, yet they know they will remain a target.
This season they have skipper Ryan James placed inside on the left edge and young winger Phil Sami outside, and Copley says he craves some stability in the combination.
The left was near faultless against Canberra’s dynamic combination of Blake Austin/Sam Williams, Elliott Whitehead, Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana, save Leilua’s try off an Austin cross-field bomb tapped back to him in a scramble.
On Saturday, life gets no easier against Warriors wizard Shaun Johnson, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku and David Fusitua.
“After last year we’ll see a fair bit of traffic especially in the first six to 10 weeks, probably all year,” Copley confessed.
“So it is important for us to defend well and keep turning teams away.”