Fittler warns Titans of Warriors' threat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fittler warns Titans of Warriors' threat

By Laine Clark 07/09/2010 04:37:28 PM Comments (0)

The idea was to invite Brad Fittler in for some encouraging words ahead of the Gold Coast Titans' NRL finals clash with the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night.

But the Titans may not have liked what they heard after a brutally honest Fittler assessed the injury-ravaged outfit's chances.

Welcomed into the Titans camp on Tuesday by old friend and Gold Coast coach John Cartwright, the league legend clearly got on well with the players at training.

But that didn't stop Fittler later claiming Cartwright's Titans - as well as the Wests Tigers - should be "really nervous" ahead of the finals.

With Cartwright standing nearby, Fittler also told the media on Tuesday that he was concerned about the Titans' star-studded injury list.

Cartwright couldn't give anything away on player availability after naming a 19-strong squad on Tuesday.

The final word on injury concerns Scott Prince (shoulder), Preston Campbell (hamstring), Luke Bailey (thumb), Mat Rogers (hip), Brad Meyers (ribs), Steve Michaels (shoulder) and Ash Harrison (broken) won't be given until Thursday.

But Cartwright may have bigger concerns, judging by Fittler's comments.

No third or fourth ranked team has been eliminated in the first round under the McIntyre System - but Fittler reckoned history may be made this weekend.

Not good news for No.3 outfit Wests Tigers or the fourth-ranked Titans.

Fittler believed three of the bottom four-ranked finalists - Canberra, the Roosters and the Titans' opponents the Warriors - loomed as the teams to beat.

"The bottom four are the form teams apart from (No.8) Manly - Manly are falling apart a bit," Fittler said.

"It makes three and four (ranked teams) really nervous because those sides have never gone out before (in the first round).

"That's what makes this (Friday night's) game so important because the Roosters are capable of winning (against Wests Tigers), Canberra are capable of winning (against Penrith), and the Warriors are a quality side."

And Fittler didn't like the fact so many Titans were under an injury cloud.

"They are a little bit wounded," he said.

"Health-wise, that is really important in the semis.

"But it can be a good thing when everyone talks about how wounded you are - sometimes that puts the other team in a false sense of security.

"They (Titans) are a tight group, they will compete.

"But you need a bit of luck."

However, Cartwright thought his side had already silenced the critics.

"For any side to make the top eight two years in a row is good - there's only three sides who were there last year," he said.

"To make the top four two years in a row is an enormous achievement.

"Only us and (minor premiers) St George have done that (this year).

"We are putting a lot of faith in the fact we have been up there with some of the most consistent sides in the last two years.

"We will take that belief in with us this Friday night."

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