Mead on Raider alert
FRESH from his first NRL hat-trick of tries, Gold Coast Titans flyer David Mead is looking forward to his next challenge against the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday.
The 21-year-old former Lismore Marist Brothers junior relishes the big one-on-one match-ups – this weekend he tackles high-flying NSW and Australian representative Joel Monaghan.
Monaghan, who is only three games back from a broken hand, is a noted leaper and is sure to present himself as a target for the pinpoint boot of Terry Campese.
And Mead knows it.
“I am expecting them to try to use Joel’s ability under the high-ball as an advantage – I always do,” Mead said.
“But I have done my preparation and am ready for whatever they throw at me.”
The battle seems a mismatch – 28-year-old Monaghan holds a 7cm, 16kg advantage over his younger rival.
But Mead won’t concede – he has speed to burn.
“He has his advantages and I have mine; that’s the beauty of matching-up in the NRL,” he said.
The Round 13 clash with Canberra sees 2010 acquisition Joseph Tomane return from injury to start inside Mead on the right flank.
Earlier in the year the combination came under fire after being exposed defensively, but they have since rectified the problem.
“Having one bloke inside me consistently is nice,” Mead said.
“We have worked hard on that defensive combination and it is getting better every week.”
The Titans are in a slump. They have lost two in a row for the first time in 2010 and have conceded 140 points in their past five games.
Mead doesn’t have all the answers to what has caused the normally gritty Titans to open up in defence, but he has one.
“Mat Rogers is a huge loss,” he said.
“He is one bloke who is always there when the team needs him. His actions give you something to follow when you are on the field – I know I do.
“When we played Melbourne a few weeks back he turned the game – he got into marker and made four or five tackles in a row and that lifted us all.
“That won us the game and those are the type of efforts we have been missing.”
A noted speedster, Mead shied away from talk of him lining up in the proposed race to be league’s fastest man.
Actually, he hadn’t even got wind of the event.
Team-mate Kevin Gordon has been short-listed as a potential starter – if ‘Flash’ has a case to be there, so does Mead.
“We are pretty much neck-and-neck,” he said.
“One day he will beat me, the next I will beat him, the race would be a bit of fun, yeah.”
But that comes in September – if at all.
For now the race is on for the Titans to get back on track and into the finals where Mead can test himself against the likes of Brett Morris, Lote Tuqiri and Anthony Minichiello.