After snapping a four-game losing streak in round 16 Gold Coast will be looking to build on that big win over Canberra when they emerge from the bye to take on top-four team Parramatta.
The Titans, who shrugged off the sin-binning of star forward David Fifita to crush the Raiders 44-6, have joined the logjam of sides on the fringe of the eight after banking their two points for the bye.
It doesn't take a genius to work out what they have to do to lift themselves above the mid-table scrum. While the 442 points they have conceded ranks the Titans exactly where they sit on the ladder, in 12th, their points-for tally of 386 pegs them in seventh.
So if Justin Holbrook's men lift their defence to the standard of their attack they'll go a long way to putting themselves back in the finals picture.
That will be easier said than done against a rested Eels side which will be keen to get its season back on track after a one-point loss to competition front-runners Penrith snapped a three-game win streak.
All four of Parramatta's 2021 losses have come against top-eight teams.
Match: Titans v Eels
Round 18 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Titans: Apart from Moeaki Fotuaika moving back to the bench and Jaimin Jolliffe moving into the starting side, Gold Coast are 1-17, with Sam McIntyre the 18th man.
Coach Justin Holbrook has the luxury of naming the same 17 which performed so strongly in Canberra in round 16.
David Fifita missed Origin due to his one-game suspension for dangerous contact but he'll be on deck and ready to rip into the Eels pack.
Sam Stone, Jayden Campbell and Mitch Rein were cut from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Fifita has scored nine tries in his past five games at Cbus Super Stadium.
Eels: Origin duo Mitchell Moses and Junior Paulo are both out for the Eels with Jakob Arthur (No.21) and Marata Niukore (No.14) to start at halfback and prop.
The Eels are coming off the bye and welcome back hooker Reed Mahoney from the shoulder injury he suffered in round 13. Will Smith is on the bench and William Penisini is the 18th man.
Back-rower Isaiah Papali'i is right to go after copping a head knock against the Panthers in round 16.
Keegan Hipgrave and Joey Lussick were omitted from the extended squad on Thursday.
The Eels have won their past four games against the Titans.
Fullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander BrimsonFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Titans is number 2 Phillip SamiWinger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian KellyCentre for Eels is number 3 Tom Opacic
Centre for Titans is number 4 Patrick HerbertCentre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Titans is number 5 Corey ThompsonWinger for Eels is number 5 Haze Dunster
Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Ashley TaylorFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal FogartyHalfback for Eels is number 21 Jake Arthur
Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod WallaceProp for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Hooker for Titans is number 9 Erin ClarkHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Titans is number 16 Jaimin JolliffeProp for Eels is number 14 Marata Niukore
2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i
2nd Row for Titans is number 12 David Fifita2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson
Lock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleauiLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Titans is number 10 Moeaki FotuaikaInterchange for Eels is number 15 Shaun Lane
Interchange for Titans is number 14 Tyrone PeacheyInterchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Interchange for Titans is number 15 Sam LisoneInterchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright
Interchange for Titans is number 17 Beau FermorInterchange for Eels is number 19 Will Smith
Reserve for Titans is number 18 Sam McIntyreReserve for Eels is number 18 Will Penisini
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
David Fifita v Ryan Matterson: Two of the competition's elite second-rowers, Fifita and Matterson both go into this clash looking to make statements. The Titans force of nature returns from a suspension that cost him his place in Origin III while the Eels workhorse has yet to really hit top form since returning from a long-term concussion layoff in round eight. Matterson has been thoroughly overshadowed by the form of 2021 recruit Isaiah Papali'i and will be eager to prove he is not a spent force.
The Titans will have to keep a very close eye on Eels skipper Clint Gutherson who can hurt teams from anywhere on the field. Not only does "King Gutho" rank No.1 for kick return metres (1136) but he also tops the NRL in support play, where his 169 involvements is well ahead of second-placed Nicho Hynes (141). In addition, Parramatta's fullback is third for runs (299) and run metres (2835), seventh in tries (12) and line-break assists (15), 10th for line breaks and try assists (both 13), and 14th in tackle breaks (56).
Head to NRL Pick'Em and get pickin’ to win a share of $100,000 cash every week!