Nathan Friend in his first appearance for the Vodafone Warriors against his old Gold Coast side in 2012. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

THROWBACK THURSDAY | Taking on Titans

When it comes to winning experiences in matches between the Vodafone Warriors and Gold Coast, no player knows more than Nathan Friend.

On Saturday the two clubs meet for the 15th time since the Titans came into existence in 2007 – and the ever-reliable 33-year-old will be right there in the middle of it yet again.

He was in the Gold Coast side for the new club’s first encounter against the Vodafone Warriors in Carrara in 2007 and since then has missed only two of the 14 matches between the two sides (when he was sidelined for Gold Coast’s two losses in 2011 before moving to Auckland the following season).

More impressively he has never been on the losing side in the last 10 matches he has featured in since 2008.

After enduring defeats in 2007 (6-22 in Carrara and 6-30 in Auckland), he was a key contributor in the Titans’ run of six straight successes in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

When Gold Coast lost twice to the Vodafone Warriors in 2011, Friend was absent but since joining the Vodafone Warriors he has enjoyed victory in all four contests against his old club – 26-6 (home) and 32-14 (away) in 2012 and 25-24 (home) and 24-22 (away) last year.

Saturday’s match will be the ninth time the two teams have clashed on the Gold Coast.

Of the players who appeared in the first match in Carrara, only four are set to appear in Robina on Saturday – Mark Minichiello for the Titans and Friend, Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei for the Vodafone Warriors.

Details of the first encounter:

 

June 30, 2007

Gold Coast Stadium, Carrara

 

Gold Coast Titans 6 (Brett Delaney try; Mat Rogers conversion).

Vodafone Warriors 22 (Sam Rapira, George Gatis, Wade McKinnon tries; Michael Witt 5 conversions).

Halftime: 6-0 Titans.

Referee: Shayne Hayne.

Crowd: 17,608.

Gold Coast Titans: Preston Campbell; Matt Petersen, Mat Rogers, Brett Delaney, Smith Samau; Josh Lewis, Scott Prince; Ian Donnelly, Nathan Friend, Michael Hodgson; Luke Swain, Mark Minichiello; Matt Hilder. Interchange: James Stosic, Luke O’Dwyer, Gavin Cooper, Clint Amos.

Vodafone Warriors: Wade McKinnon; Patrick Ah Van, Todd Byrne, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei; Michael Witt, Grant Rovelli; Ruben Wiki, George Gatis, Evarn Tuimavave; Louis Anderson, Logan Swann; Micheal Luck. Interchange: Nathan Fein, Sam Rapira, Epalahame Lauaki, Wairangi Koopu.