Desperate Titans coach Justin Holbrook has shaken up his side ahead of Friday’s clash with the undefeated Panthers.
David Fifita was named in the second row after playing in the centres last week, however Holbrook moved him to the bench one hour before kick-off, with veteran Kevin Proctor moving into the run-on side.
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“It happened last year, David Fifita started the season off the bench and everyone said ‘you can’t have your million-dollar man off the bench, you’ve got to start him’,” Greg Alexander said.
“But it just hasn’t worked this year. They threw him out to the centres last week and that didn’t work, it just took him another spot further away from the ball.
“And now (Holbrook) has reacted by moving him back to the bench and hoping that gets the best out of him. I hope it does, we want to see the best of David Fifita.
“Obviously Justin Holbrook is searching for the answers on David Fifita.”
Holbrook told Fox League the switch was about wanting to get quality over quantity from the $1.3m-a-season star.
“Dave’s a real impact player … We don’t need a hardworking 80, we need a real quality 60 (from him) for a chance of beating Penrith tonight,” Holbrook said.
Meanwhile, AJ Brimson moves to fullback — where he played all of his career up until this season — and Will Smith will partner Toby Sexton in the halves with Tanah Boyd coming onto the bench.
Phillip Sami is out due to a knee injury, opening the door for Corey Thompson to play his third game of the season.
In a stark contrast, the Panthers have named the same 17 that downed the Raiders last week.
The Titans are coming off three straight losses — most recently a 30-4 thrashing from the Cowboys — and now face their biggest challenge yet.
The Panthers are flying high and show now signs of stopping.
Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 5. Greg Marzhew 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 23. Corey Thompson 6. Will Smith 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Isaac Liu 17. Kevin Proctor 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Herman Ese’ese. Replacement player: 18. Jamayne Isaako
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Taylan May 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Matt Eisenhuth 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Soni Luke 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon. Replacement player: 19. Chris Smith
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