A spot in the top eight is up for grabs as the injury-ravaged Newcastle Knights host the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.
The Knights and Titans currently sit outside the top eight, so there is plenty to play for in Round 5. However, it’s a case of simply holding on for Newcastle, which has been hit with the injury bug.
BetUS online sports betting is available for all NRL rugby games this season and most of the money has come for the home side.
Newcastle Dealt Tough Blow
The Newcastle Knights enter Round 5 with two wins and two losses. However, the biggest loss was inspirational playmaker Mitchell Pearce.
Losing Peace for up to 10 weeks is a massive blow for this club, which has been hit with injuries over the last years. Not only are the Knights without their captain, but they also lost Jacob Saifiti, Tex Hoy, and Kurt Mann.
Newcastle Knights coach Adam O’Brien ‘will struggle’ to name a 21-man squad this afternoon 😲
Knights casualty ward 🏥 Mitchell Pearce (pec, round 15-16) Kurt Mann (HIA, TBC) Tex Hoy (hamstring, round 6-7) David Klemmer (knee, round 6) Dom Young (knee… https://t.co/BNqotN2PXi pic.twitter.com/4j5HBqpH5b
— SuperCoach365 (@SuperCoach365) April 5, 2021
Mitchell’s pectoral tear came at a bad time for the Knights, who were due to get Kayln Ponga back from injury.
Rugby league reporter Danika Mason commented on how distraught Pearce was when he came off the field.
“”It is a suspected torn pec,” Mason told Nine.com.au. “He was in a lot of pain when he entered the sheds. We hear he is quite upset.”
There is still hope for the Knights as Ponga is a welcome addition. The former Clive Churchill Medal front runner has been out all season and he will slot into the fullback role.
Strong Money For Titans
We expected NRL betting markets to have Gold Coast as favorites and the majority of money has come for the home side.
The Titans’ form has been mixed this season. They lost heavily to the Canberra Raiders in Round 4, but they bombed about four good chances of scoring over the line.
Credit the Canberra defense on that occasion, but the Titans should find it easier to cross against Newcastle. The Knights defense has been suspect this season and now with so many injuries, it’s unlikely to get better.
Players to look out for from the Titans are Alex Brimson and Phillip Sami. Brimson, a Queensland Maroon last season, has been excellent at the back for the Titans and he has the world at his oyster.
Phillip Sami has enjoyed plenty of ball on the wing and he has made the most of it. Sami is a player who could tear through the Knights’ defense at any given moment.
One concern for the Titans is the halves pairing of Jamal Fogarty and Tanah Boyd. They are inexperienced and they face Connor Watson and Blake Green from the Knights. It’s a tough matchup, so the Titans pairing will need to be on the same page.
Titans vs Knights Statistics
Saturday’s game will be the 24th meeting between the Titans and Knights, with Newcastle holding the 12-11 advantage.
They split the games last season, with Newcastle winning 38-4 before the Titans won 36-6 a month later.
There isn’t much separating them in the scoring statistical department. Gold Coast has scored 82 points and allowed 63. Newcastle has scored 85 and allowed 78.
Newcastle has won just 4/10 at Cbus Super Stadium and that’s where the difference could come. It’s not an easy venue for opposing teams and the Knights have struggled.
Titans vs Knights Game Pick
Bookmakers have the points spread at 9½, which is an overreaction to the Mitchell Pearce injury. It is a massive blow for the Knights, but we don’t think Gold Coast is 10 points better.
We would comfortably back Newcastle with the points, especially with the more senior halves pairing of Watson and Green. Blake Green played well for the New Zealand Warriors last season and his experience could be crucial.
Moneyline odds of +225 are a little risky, so take the points available.