Titans timing run well towards NRL finals
Written off two months into the 2012 NRL season, the Gold Coast believe they can make a major statement against the team on everyone's lips at Skilled Park on Sunday.
The Bulldogs have surged to the top of the NRL ladder with nine straight wins.
But it's Sunday's rivals South Sydney who are the talk of the rugby league world following some stunning performances off the back of an aggressive and jumbo-sized forward pack which could be bolstered by the late addition of Kiwi muscle man Roy Asotasi.
South Sydney's renaissance under new coach Michael Maguire has former Rabbitoh greats excited about a return to the club's glory days and even talking premiership glory for the first time since 1971.
Even without their star attraction Greg Inglis, Souths ran riot against Wests Tigers last weekend, moving into second place on the ladder and confirming their arrival as a genuine premiership threat rather than occasional entertainers.
But while Souths have been creating quite a buzz with their ability to score tries from anywhere on the field, the Titans have been happy to fly under the radar as they quietly breathe life into their own finals push.
"Our forwards have been on fire and we're pretty much at full strength again except for Birdy (Greg Bird)," declared prop Matt White, tipping some shuddering collisions on Sunday.
"Sam Burgess is extremely physical so we need to control him and big Dave Taylor out wide on the edge of the ruck.
"Johnny Sutton runs like an extra back-rower so it's going to be pretty brutal out there."
The Titans are one of several clubs engaged in a dogfight for a top eight finish which coach John Cartwright believes will change frequently during the last five rounds as teams walk the finals tightrope.
"This is a big test for us, we're in a real precarious position still," said Cartwright, who has won all three matches as coach against Souths at Skilled Park.
"The configuration of the eight is going to change a lot between now of the finals and a win against Souths would be enormous for us."
Ashley Harrison, who has missed the Titans' last five games with a broken toe, still has to pass a fitness test on Saturday before being cleared to line up against the Rabbitohs.
"We'll see how it feels later in the week but I know it's healed so I'm hoping I'll be right for Sunday," Harrison said after getting today's training session without any dramas.
"We're starting to build something and Souths are another massive test for us on Sunday.
"We're all starting to come back at the right end of the year and hopefully we can keep the roll going and keep that good feeling going."