Gold Coast co-captain Nathan Friend believes the Titans will get a true measure of their standing in the NRL when they meet Melbourne at AAMI Park on Sunday night.
The Titans rolled Newcastle 30-12 in round one while the Storm ground out a two-point win over St George Illawarra.
Friend’s Titans come into the clash under no illusions about the enormity of the task awaiting them against the Storm at home.
“They’ve always been a yard-stick of the competition; they always have a pretty solid off season and they always hit the ground running,” Friend told the Titans website.
“It will be a good challenge for us after our weekend’s performance.”
Friend spent four years with the Storm between 2003 and 2006 before joining the Gold Coast as a foundation player.
“It was where I got my opportunity and got the opportunity to play in a grand final,” Friend said.
The 35-year-old hooker wants his side to emulate the same enthusiasm they showed against the Knights, both in attack and defence.
“The enthusiasm and intent in our carries and defence was great,” Friend said.
“You could see it building in our trials and hopefully we can build on it again.”
David Mead is set to stay at fullback with William Zillman ruled out with a calf complaint following their final training run.
Nene Macdonald has replaced John Olive on the the wing while Luke Douglas will travel to Melbourne with Eddy Pettybourne out.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he was impressed by the Titans’ point-scoring spree, with three tries in nine minutes early in the second half to set up the win against Newcastle.
He too had noted their enthusiasm.
“It was pretty impressive; they put a fair few points on Newcastle and to do it in the conditions, it was quite wet up there so they’re a very energetic team,” Bellamy said.
“All the critics who wrote them off early in year would be looking to take their words back.
“We know it’s going to be one hell of a challenge for us.”