ALBERT KELLY has recovered well from his first solid week of training for some time and will play for Tweed Head Seagulls in Sunday’s clash with Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval (2pm).
He has had only one match (against the Panthers in round 13) since the round nine clash with the Rabbitohs, the start of the six-game losing street (he first injured his leg in the round eight game against the Tigers at Leichhardt). Aidan Sezer was injured the following Friday in Brisbane.
Coach John Cartwright has been forced to use six combinations in those six games, with Beau Henry also joining the injured list: Sezer-Kelly, Sezer-Henry, Maurice Blair-Henry, Blair-Kelly, Blair-Takairangi from six minutes into the clash with the Storm, and Blair-Daniel Mortimer last Sunday, after coupling Kelly with Ash Harrison earlier against Canberra.
Kelly said his leg felt the best it had for the past many weeks and he was keen to get the Intrust Super Cup game under his belt and get some confidence and playing fitness to push his selection chances for the extremely important game against the Rabbitohs on Monday week – the Titans’ fifth Monday clash in 15 games.
"Hopefully I can come through this week unscathed and put my hand up for selection come Souths," said Kelly who will start on the bench in the Seagulls side that has won eight straight. “It’s a good bunch of blokes down there at Tweed and I’m excited to be training alongside of them.
“They’re on a winning streak and I didn’t want to push anyone out of their position. Hopefully I get a bit of time and we can keep that streak going."
THE tributes to ASHLEY HARRISON from within the playing group, and externally, after his premature retirement flowed this week. And several will appear in a special tribute by the Gold Coast Bulletin tomorrow and Nine News Gold Coast is running its special tribute tonight.
Perhaps the most incisive came from Aidan Sezer, our 23-year-old five-eighth who has been universally forecast as a future Titans leader, who said: “He’s a legend in my eyes and I have a tonne of respect for him, as all the boys do. I was sad to hear the news but I’ll have a lot of fond memories. He is a player I’ll strive to be like as I mature and it was a privilege to play alongside him and call him my teammate.”
For the record Harro played 276 NRL games, and 15 games for Queensland, since making his debut in 2000 and playing off the bench in the Broncos’ grand final victory which puts him ninth among Queenslanders in the all-time league’s appearance list, and in the top 40 among all players.
He didn’t want to go out with any great fanfare after surprisingly tearing up when he held a media conference in April to announce his end of season retirement plans after getting emotional beforehand when revealing it to the team. So he avoided a big ‘presser’ this time and there was no confession in front of the boys. It’s typical of him.
But the tributes volunteered by the media without prompting is a mark of the respect he has gained in his 15 seasons in the game. He’ll still be around the club in a community and marketing role as he prepares for a career in financial planning.
Strength and conditioning coach Daniel Ferris surprised the team with a beep test at training on Thursday and king of the gruelling fitness challenge, WILLIAM ZILLMAN, was given a real showdown by new boy DANIEL MORTIMER.
They were the last two standing before ‘Zilly’ retained his crown to great applause by teammates as the last five or six battled it out for survival. Luke Bailey, as always, was an inspiration and was one of the last group to fall with Matt Srama, Ryan James, Cody Nelson and Luke Douglas.
Mortimer and Zillman have also been paired off as gym partners with their weights and other activities.
Incidentally, Mortimer is using the bye weekend to return to Sydney to pack his belongings and pick up his car such has been the frantic past week and a half since he decided to become a Titan. He was still able to catch up briefly with his father Peter, part of the famous Canterbury Mortimers of the 1980s, who flew from his Orange winery to watch Dan make his club debut last Sunday.
A COUPLE of birthdays this week happened on the same day (Tuesday). AIDAN SEZER turned 23 and NATE MYLES was 29.
TRIVIA FROM LAST WEEK: Which set of brothers have played the most combined first grade matches? It’s the Walters boys from Ipswich with 782 (Kevin 287, Steve 272 and Kerrod 223) ahead of the Mortimers with 741 (Steve 272, Chris 250, Peter 189 and Glenn 30).
THIS WEEK’S TRIVIA: Which of the four goal-kickers used in Aiden Sezer’s absence this year has the best success rate?