Titans fade-outs are in the past: Friend - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans fade-outs are in the past: Friend

By Laine Clark 23/05/2009 03:26:33 PM Comments (0)

Keeping a low profile should be easy for Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Friend - the pint-sized playmaker is barely 170cm tall.

But Friend just can't seem to stay out of the limelight.

The vertically challenged rake is never short of a word.

But surely even he would be tempted to adopt a "softly, softly" approach after a headline-grabbing week.

Not so, it seems.

After labelling Sunday's in-form opponents Manly "cocky", "arrogant" and "disrespectful" during the week, Friend has come out again talking up the Titans' finals chances.

Despite losing two straight to cling to a top eight spot, Friend reckons the Titans are nicely poised to break their traditional late season hoodoo - starting with a win against a team they have never beaten, Manly.

Friend said the Titans knew what to do to ensure history did not repeat in 2009.

"It (slide) has happened in the past, but we have taken steps this year to nullify what has happened in the previous years," he said.

"None of the guys here are looking at the past.

"We certainly have better heads on us this year and we'll certainly come through the other side a better side because of it."

The Titans (8th; 6-4 record) will certainly be backing themselves against Manly (13th; 4-6) after the return of internationals Luke Bailey and Anthony Laffranchi.

Apart from his Manly blast, Friend made headlines for the wrong reasons when he "accidentally" forgot his trademark headgear and ran out against Brisbane with a helmet baring the logo of his personal fitness business.

The $5,000 fine he copped from the NRL - the Titans made him pay for it - was not nearly as bad as the grief he received from niggling teammates during training this week.

Titans co-captain Scott Prince even gave it to him on Channel Nine's Footy Show on Thursday night when asked about the Manly comments.

"Well, we all know Friendy's not the sharpest tool in the shed," Prince laughed.

Manly haven't reacted to Friend's comments - much.

Sea Eagles legend Peter Peters wrote in his column on Saturday that Friend could be called arrogant for running out in headgear advertising his business, clearly breaching NRL guidelines.

"Arrogant, or just plain dumb," Peters wrote.

Friend was the talking point the last time the teams clashed.

The No.9 copped a week's suspension for clocking Manly prop Josh Perry in retaliation for an incident involving Titans teammate Daniel Conn.

While Prince took a good natured swipe at Friend, the Titans leader did not back down when talking about the Manly challenge ahead.

"This is the test we need," Prince wrote in his Gold Coast Bulletin column.

"This game will show all how serious we are about this year's comp - we need to start winning again."

Of course the final word went to Friend.

"It was a good spectacle the last time we played them," Friend said, supposedly with tongue in cheek.

"They just came over the top of us at the end, so hopefully all the fans will roll out and watch a reversal on Sunday afternoon.

"It'd be nice to go into the bye with a win and put the feet up knowing the other teams are doing battle."

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