2022-04-22 06:14:00

Captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui admits Cameron Smith’s recent criticism of the Gold Coast Titans “hurt” him and says his side is determined to prove the NRL legend wrong from Saturday night’s Queensland derby onwards.

The North Queensland Cowboys will be without Origin star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow for the derby, with coach Todd Payten confirming on Friday he had lost his race to recover from a knee injury in time.

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On Wednesday, Smith said he began the season with high hopes for the Titans, who played finals last year, but felt let down when they only managed to win two of their first six games.

“I backed the Titans to finish top six, but they’re letting me down … last week they just didn’t turn up,” Smith told SEN.

Smith wants to see more resilience from the Titans. Picture: Liam KidstonSource: News Corp Australia

Ahead of the grudge match with the Cowboys, Fa’asuamaleaui said it was tough to be on the receiving end of his former teammate’s criticism.

“Hearing comments like that from ‘Smithy’, it hurts a bit because he’s someone whose opinion really matters to me,” he said.

“Hopefully we can change his words and he’s saying something different in the future.”

Smith said the Titans were struggling to piece together 80-minute performances, having been outscored seven tries to one across their last two first halves.

Fa’asuamaleaui admitted his side needed to break its bad habits – and fast.

“I know that we can be better and I think that’s why it’s more disappointing,” he said.

“We’re definitely going to keep improving. It’s only six rounds in but we’ve got to get it started this weekend against the Cowboys and keep building from that.”

‘The Hammer’ will miss the Cowboys’ round seven game. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Cowboys fan favourite Tabuai-Fidow had been considered a chance to return for the match but will be given at least another week to recover from his knee injury.

“He won’t play this week,” Payten confirmed.

“He moved really well, he just lacked that real high-end speed, taking off at 100 per cent. Obviously his biggest threat is his speed. He won’t be playing until that comes back.

“We expect him to be able to improve over the next seven days.”

Tipped to struggle this season, the Cowboys have proven plenty of pundits wrong by starting with three wins from six games and will be hungry for another victory at home.

Fa’asuamaleaui said the Titans couldn’t afford to bleed points early and give their opponents the mental edge.

“They’ve been playing some good footy and they’re going to come out firing, especially at home,” Fa’asuamaleaui said of the Cowboys.

“We’ve just got to get up there and know that we’ve got to do a job and make sure that we turn up ready to go.”

Fa’asuamaleaui has faith the Titans will improve. Picture: NRL PhotosSource: The Daily Telegraph

While the Cowboys head into the game on the back of a win, Gold Coast forward Jarrod Wallace said form lines would count for little come Saturday night.

“These local derbies are always tough. It doesn’t matter how well or how badly a team is going, when you come up against a Queensland team, there’s always more feeling and there’s more hunger,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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