Centres lift Titans for Storm clash

Gold Coast are boosted by the NRL return of Phil Sami (pic) and Brian Kelly to face Melbourne.
Gold Coast are boosted by the NRL return of Phil Sami (pic) and Brian Kelly to face Melbourne.

Coach Justin Holbrook is hailing the return of strike centres Brian Kelly and Phil Sami as Gold Coast attempt to topple in-form Melbourne at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday night.

The Storm are looking to make their new NRL home ground a fortress, resigned to playing out the season away from Melbourne as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Star Storm playmaker Cameron Munster will make his return from a knee injury after getting through the final training session.

Titans coach Holbrook was also excited to get his injured centre pairing back in the line-up as they search for consecutive wins for the first time this NRL season.

"They (Kelly and Sami) can come up with some important plays which we're going to need tomorrow," Holbrook said on Thursday.

"It was a good job that the boys did last week playing out of position but we need those type of strike players back and it gives me real confidence."

Beau Fermor will shift back to the second row, forcing Sam Stone on to the bench, while his centre partner Bryce Cartwright is out of the squad.

Holbrook says his team can't afford to allow third-placed Melbourne to get out to a lead, as they did with last round's win over the Warriors.

He said cutting down errors was key.

"Melbourne are too good a side and won't give us too many chances," Holbrook said.

"They're very good at controlling games so we've got to improve in that area if we're going to be a good chance."

The Storm are coming off back-to-back wins over last year's grand finalists and coach Craig Bellamy said he wanted to see the same effort from his players against the Titans, who sit 15th.

"We need to put that effort in again ... if we don't we will get our pants pulled down," Bellamy said on Thursday.

"It doesn't matter who we are playing, we need to have the same attitude."

He was impressed by the Titans' tactics to play an expansive game and said his team's defence needed to aim up.

"If we don't defend well they will shift the ball well and put us under a heap of pressure," Bellamy said.

"They're a danger side with their willingness to do that and when they get under the pump they hang in there so there's real good signs for the Titans."

Stats that Matter

* Melbourne has not lost against a team in the bottom four since late in 2015.

* The Titans have lost 12 straight games playing a team sitting in the top four, with their last win back in 2017.

* Gold Coast have won back-to-back games just once in the past two seasons.

Australian Associated Press