iSelect Titans front-rower Luke Bailey is out of Sunday’s match against the Warriors in Auckland with a neck injury suffered during the second half against the Dragons last weekend, extending the Titans’ already critical injury toll.
He becomes the tenth forward who is sidelined for the round 25 clash but he hopes to be back to finish the season at Cbus Super Stadium against the Bulldogs on Sunday week.
It is a whiplash type of injury that has responded well to treatment but with the Friday flight to Auckland he will not have enough time to recover.
That leaves the Titans with these forwards from the initial 2014 squad who are unavailable – Bailey, Nate Myles, Matt Srama, Caleb Binge, Ben Ridge, Ashley Harrison, Luke Douglas, David Taylor, Ryan James and Siuatonga Likiliki.
David Mead will come into the 17 which will require a shuffle with Brad Takairangi, who has played back row with the Roosters, and Maurice Blair likely to spend time in the forwards.
Myles had an operation on his left shoulder yesterday and the specialist was happy with the procedure – a shoulder scope and biceps repair. He is expected to resume full training by early in the New Year or possibly before.
Srama has also had surgery, a hip scope and abductor release, and is recovering well.
Dave Taylor is progressing well with the calf injury that has seen him miss the last two matches and is hopeful of returning for the final match of the year against the Bulldogs, which would give some relief to the forwards’ injury crisis.
Kevin Gordon also needs a hip arthroscopy but has delayed the surgery while the player injury list is so large, just in case he is required to play. He has been rested for the past two games.
There is a total of 16 players in the NRL squad unavailable this weekend which makes it undoubtedly the worst casualty ward scenario in the club’s eight seasons.
“However we will still field a team with plenty of NRL experience and some young players keen to use the opportunity to impress and what we want is intensity and enthusiasm against a Warriors team we know will be desperate with their finals hopes on the line,” said coach Neil Henry.