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Roosters not thinking of minor premiership

Returning Sydney Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello says his high-flying side haven't spoken about winning the NRL minor premiership and need to keep calm against Gold Coast on Sunday.
Roosters not thinking of minor premiership
by AAP

By Adrian Warren and Ed Jackson

SYDNEY, Aug 31 AAP - Returning Sydney Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello says his high-flying side haven't spoken about winning the NRL minor premiership and need to keep calm against Gold Coast on Sunday.

Fullback Minichiello has missed the past three games with a knee injury and his return at Allianz Stadium will steady a Roosters defence that conceded a season-high 32 points against Cronulla last Monday.

The Roosters have fallen from first to second, two points behind local rival South Sydney after the Rabbitohs' win over Wests Tigers on Friday night.

They meet the Rabbitohs in a blockbuster final-round clash and wins in their last two games will secure the Roosters the minor premiership.

"Obviously, it's pretty exciting. The minor premiership hasn't been spoken (of) at all, to be honest," Minichiello said on Saturday.

"But the sun is starting to come out. It's that semi-final atmosphere starting to appear, so we've obviously got to concentrate and work hard."

Asked if Souths' win on Friday put more pressure on the Roosters to beat the Titans, Minichiello said: "No, we're just concentrating on what we do and that's focusing on the Titans."

He stressed the need for the Roosters to keep their cool after Cronulla succeeded in riling them.

"I think some of the boys were frustrated last week," Minichiello said.

"We've just got to keep a calm head and trust what we do and things will come."

Minichiello emphasised the need for the Roosters to start well against a Titans team he expected to be very enthusiastic and which must win to stay in the finals race.

The Titans entered the second last round as one of five teams on 24 points, battling for the last finals spot.

"It's down to the wire and we're still in the hunt with two games to go and a win this weekend will keep us there," said Titans coach John Cartwright.

The injury-hit Titans confirmed their lineup on Saturday.

Co-captain Greg Bird was given the all-clear after training and will return after missing last weekend's loss to the Warriors with a back injury.

Stand-in fullback David Mead has been ruled out after sustaining a broken back against the Warriors, with Kevin Gordon to move to that position from the wing.

Steve Michaels and Jordan Atkins have been promoted to the side at wing and centre respectively.

For the Roosters, Minichiello's return means Roger Tuivasa-Sheck switches from fullback to wing, and Shaun Kenny-Dowall from the wing back to back to the centres.

Mitchell Aubusson returns to the back row from the centres.


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