Friday, March 24, 2023
HomeSportsNRL 2023: Gold Coast Titans season preview

NRL 2023: Gold Coast Titans season preview

- Advertisement -

A string of wins to finish the season saw the Titans avoid the wooden spoon in 2022, finishing 13th.

Gold Coast have made some smart signings in the off-season, but Justin Holbrook will still have his work cut out for him this year as he aims to establish some defensive stability.

The Sporting News previews the Titans’ upcoming season below, including their best 17, the key to their success and predicted finish for 2023.



1 AJ Brimson
2 Sosefo Fifita
3 Aaron Schoupp
4 Phillip Sami
5 Alofiana Khan-Pereira
6 Kieran Foran
7 Tanah Boyd
8 Moeaki Fotuaika
9 Sam Verrills
10 Isaac Liu
11 David Fifita
12 Beau Fermor
13 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14 Jayden Campbell
15 Jaimin Jolliffe
16 Erin Clark
17 Joe Stimson

NOTE: Patrick Herbert (knee) and Brian Kelly (suspension) will miss the start of the season. 



Kieran Foran, Chris Randall, Aaron Schoupp, Joe Stimson, Sam Verrills, Thomas Weaver


Herman Ese’ese, Jamayne Isaako, Sam Lisone, Esan Marsters, Greg Marzhew, Kevin Proctor, Will Smith, Corey Thompson, Jarrod Wallace


Whilst there are a few notable player departures from last season, the Titans have recruited smartly for 2023. Generally speaking, Gold Coast were an attacking threat last year, but their defensive displays let them down on numerous occasions.

This has been addressed with the acquisition of young centre Aaron Schoupp, who arrives from the Bulldogs. His size and defensive nous will improve the back line, however, there is limited depth heading into Round 1. Once Patrick Herbert (knee) and Brian Kelly (suspension) return, this should not be a major issue, though. On the wings, Greg Marzhew’s move to the Knights is a potentially significant loss.

Kieran Foran – the team’s star signing – will provide a boost to the halves, bringing some much-needed experience and defensive organisation skills. However, there are still some question marks about the halfback position, which is likely up for grabs between Tanah Boyd, Toby Sexton, and potentially Thomas Weaver.

The Titans’ hooker stocks have risen for this season following the signing of Sam Verrills. The former Roosters No. 9 has battled with injury but is a highly impactful player when fit. Chris Randall is also set to back up Verrills at dummy-half when needed. Assuming AJ Brimson starts at fullback, that is a relatively strong spine for 2023.

As for the forward pack, captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is set for another big year, whilst David Fifita will likely benefit from the addition of Foran and Schoupp on the right edge. Moeaki Fotuaika and Isaac Liu will offer a blend of young talent and experience at the prop position, with new recruit Joe Stimson likely to earn a spot off the bench. The Titans have the talent and physicality required for a strong forward pack, but still need to improve their defensive stability.

STRENGTHS: Hooker, forwards

WEAKNESSES: Five-eighth

RATING: 6.5/10


The Titans’ 2023 campaign will likely be influenced by the performances of new recruit Kieran Foran.

Signed from the Sea Eagles on a two-year deal, the veteran five-eighth will bring some much-needed experience to Gold Coast’s halves.

The 32-year-old’s age and injury history are the major question marks coming into this season, but outside of that, his addition should improve a struggling side.

He plays a physical brand of football, which suits a young team pushing to return to the finals. 

However, there is some uncertainty surrounding the 2023 halves combination, which could see Tanah Boyd, Toby Sexton or Thomas Weaver paired alongside Foran.

The combination of experience and new talent can be a successful one – as we are seeing with the development of Ezra Mam alongside Adam Reynolds in Brisbane – but is no guarantee.

We know what Foran is capable of as a footballer, but can he do it in the twilight years of his career? 


Whilst Kieran Foran will be wearing the No. 6 jersey this season, there is not a clear-cut No. 7 as it stands.

Tanah Boyd is expected to be the starting halfback in Round 1, but depending on performances, we could see some shuffling in the position.

Toby Sexton is in the mix for a spot in the halves, along with talented youngster Thomas Weaver.

The 19-year-old has been upgraded to the Titans’ top 30 squad for the 2023 season off the back of making his QLD Cup debut and representing the Maroons U19s side last year.

At just 172cm and 75kg, Weaver is only small in stature but has a big heart and the type of work ethic required to make it in the NRL for the Titans. 

MORE: NRL 2023 – Every club’s rookie to watch


Rounds 24-27: Sharks [A], Panthers [H], Storm [A], Bulldogs [H]

The Titans will need to amass as many points as possible early in the season, with a difficult run home awaiting them.

They will head to a raucous Shark Park in Round 24 before facing the reigning premiers the following week.

A trip to the ever-consistent Storm will mark their penultimate match of the season before a Round 27 clash with a young Bulldogs side.

If the Titans find themselves pushing for finals this year, this four-match stretch could make or break their season.


The addition of Foran to Verrills to the spine will likely improve the Titans this season, but it is the overall lack of cohesion and organisation that could let them down again. 

Defence was their biggest weakness last year, and it will take time to build a system and develop chemistry. 

If they can get off to a hot start, finals might be a possibility. However, a challenging final stretch of games will be a serious test. 


- Advertisment -

Most Popular