If experience counts in finals footy then Gold Coast may as well not turn up for Friday’s elimination clash with Brisbane.
The Titans head up the Pacific Motorway for their first finals appearance in six years with an accumulated 30 finals matches across their starting 13 with Chris McQueen the only premiership winner in their team.
Brisbane, last year’s grand finalists, boast 124 finals across their starting lineup with Darius Boyd, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker having all won premierships.
Adam Blair has also tasted grand final success as a member of the 2009 Melbourne team which would later have their premiership win stripped for salary cap breaches.
The Titans boast four players making their finals debut in Konrad Hurrell, Nene MacDonald, Ashley Taylor and Ryan James while only two of Brisbane’s starting 13 – centres Tom Opacic and James Roberts – are new to finals football.
Veteran backrower Thaiday doesn’t however buy into the argument the Titans are lambs heading to a Suncorp Stadium slaughter.
“Yeah we made the grand final last year, we’ve got the 13 players from that (game) playing again now but we’ve got some young guys in our team that don’t have that semi-final experience,” Thaiday told AAP.
“Anything can happen in semi-finals. Everyone’s playing to get through to the next week.
“I’m sure they’re going to bring their best brand of footy all year because they want to rub people’s face in it, the ones who doubted them.”
Thaiday is also backing Roberts, who established himself as a rising star of the game last year at Gold Coast before a bungled contract resulted in a move to the Broncos.
The 23-year-old also recently copped a $20,000 fine and has been ordered to undertake community service after two separate drunken incidents at Brisbane nightspots.
“Jimmy’s one of those players that’s pretty chilled and pretty laidback,” Thaiday said.
“It won’t faze him too much coming up against the Titans.
“He’ll enjoy the challenge like he does every week and go out there and do a job for the Broncos.”