Titans have been extraordinary: Gould - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans have been extraordinary: Gould

By Laine Clark 11/09/2009 05:05:35 PM Comments (0)

One similarity to the Wests Tigers' improbable run to the 2005 NRL title leaps out at Scott Prince as he prepares for the Gold Coast Titans' finals debut - no one gives them a chance.

He's sure got that right.

Despite winning 11 of their 12 games at Skilled Park this year, the Titans will run out against the Broncos in their qualifying final on Saturday night as overwhelming underdogs.

And Titans co-captain Prince hasn't got the foggiest idea why.

Sure they have had their injury concerns.

Centre Brett Delaney (hamstring) was replaced by ex-Origin flyer Chris Walker on Friday but veteran utility Mat Rogers (hamstring) was cleared.

However, apart from a last-round blowout against Manly they have been one of the form teams, grabbing third spot.

Even one of their harshest early critics - Phil Gould - has come around, calling their third place finish in only their third year as "nothing short of extraordinary".

"And I think it is great that they are playing the Broncos in their first semi. It will be in their favour, they will spark up to that," Gould told AAP.

"They are a chance (in the finals mix). They give as good as they get."

Not bad from a bloke who slammed the Titans pack for being too small - after round two.

Yet bookies and punters have abandoned the Gold Coast.

Doubts have even been cast over the effectiveness of their big weapon - their home crowd.

There have been reports that ticket sales indicate there may be a pro-Broncos crowd at Skilled Park.

"We chipped away and we finished third in the ladder but still now no one gives us a chance of beating anyone let alone the Broncos," Prince said on Friday.

"There's no pressure from our point of view.

"We will go out there and enjoy our football, rise to the occasion."

Like he did in 2005.

"There are similarities (with the Wests Tigers' premiership) in that no one has given us a chance," Prince said.

"But it's the 17 guys who take the field in the Titans jumper that matters.

"Hopefully tomorrow night we will show that confidence and self-belief that's in the shed."

Every good fairytale has a Prince - and the halfback happily played that role for the Wests Tigers as they confounded critics four years ago.

It has been a frustrating wait for Prince to taste finals action again.

"That is probably lost on a few people, we have got people here who have won grand finals, and won grand finals against the odds," Gold Coast coach John Cartwright said on Friday.

"They know that anything is possible and that they are capable of doing it.

"We have to play at our very best and work for each other, and that's what we have done all year, that's not going to change.

"There's more on the line, more pressure but I am thinking that will lift us to another level."

While Gould has recanted his comments about the Titans pack, the Gold Coast forwards have had to endure fresh, derogatory claims from ex-Broncos enforcer Gorden Tallis this week.

Cartwright was clearly looking forward to having the last laugh.

"It hasn't really been mentioned, we can't really talk about that before the game," he said.

"Hopefully we will be in a better position to answer that after the game."

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