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Warriors v Titans: Surprise round one winners face off

Widely written off before the season kicked off, the Warriors might have a few pundits re-evaluating their tip for the wooden spoon after their convincing win over the Rabbitohs.

Former Melbourne and Manly playmaker Blake Green looked right at home in his first official game with his new club, showing he could form a solid 1-2 punch with halfback Shaun Johnson, while the Warriors forwards were also strong for the most part.

Agnatius Paasi (knee) should be available for selection after missing the win over Souths and Simon Mannering (shoulder) is due to return in round four.

The Titans will feel good about themselves after notching a home win over Canberra.

Gold Coast will have their forward stocks bolstered in round three with the return of Jack Stockwell (shoulder) and Jarrod Wallace (shoulder, suspension).

The selections

Warriors veteran Simon Mannering is still out due to injury, which means the Warriors are unchanged following their first-up victory over the Rabbitohs.

The Titans remain unchanged after their opening round win against the Raiders.

The key-match up: Winning the battle in the middle is always important, but the key match-up this weekend will be on the edge as former Melbourne Storm and Kiwis teammates Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris square off.

For the Warriors to win: They need more of the same from last week. Blake Green must control field position and allow Shaun Johnson to run the football.

For the Titans to win: Win the battle in the middle third. Ryan James has to lead from the front and have a big night at the office.

Titans stat attack: In 2017, the Titans finished 12th in points scored at an average of just 18.7 per game. That was turned around last week, scoring 30 to beat the Canberra Raiders, and they will need more of the latter to get over the red hot Warriors.

Warriors stat attack: Last season the Warriors averaged the fifth most metres gained per set, with 43.2.

And another thing: Expect Mt Smart to be rocking on Saturday with all tickets just $15, and $5 from each sale going towards the Cyclone Gita relief efforts in the Pacific.

Prediction: Warriors by 16

Warriors v Titans

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Blake Green, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. James Gavet, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Adam Blair, 11. Isaiah Papali’I, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Liligiifo Sao.

Interchange: 14. Samuel Cook, 15. Leivaha Pulu, 16. Samuel Lisone, 17. Bunty Afoa,

Reserves: 18. Jazz Tevaga, 19. Anthony Gelling, 20. Agnatius Paasi, 21. Mason Lino.

The above team is subject to change one hour before kick-off.

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Dale Copley, 4. Konrad Hurrell, 5. Philip Sami, 6. Kane Elgey, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. Jai Arrow, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Leilani Latu, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Ryan James (c), 13. Bryce Cartwright.

Interchange: 14. Mitchell Rein, 15. Max King, 16. Will Matthews, 17. Morgan Boyle,

Reserves: 18. Keegan Hipgrave, 19. Joe Greenwood, 20. Jai Whitbread, 21. AJ Brimson.

The above team is subject to change one hour before kick-off.

Saturday March 17, 5.05pm NZ (3.05pm AEDT), Mt Smart Stadium

Head-to-head: 22 games, Warriors 15 wins, Titans 7 wins

Matches at the venue: 10 games, Warriors 7 wins, Titans 3 wins

Last five games: Warriors 5 wins

2017 matches: Warriors beat Titans 28-22 in round 5 and 34-12 in round 14

2017 points per game: Warriors 18.5; Titans 18.7

2017 points conceded per game: Warriors 24; Titans 26.6

Televised: Fox League, NRL Live Pass

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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