Comeback men strong in trial
Both Titans head coach Neil Henry and under-20s coach Ben Woolf were satisfied with the performances of the 10 NRL squad members and the Holden Cup players in the under-20s v Tweed Heads Seagulls trial match on Saturday.
At an NRL level, Henry was pleased Kevin Gordon had an impressive comeback from hip and knee injuries and played half of the match played in four-quarters at Cabarita.
Eddy Pettybourne also played half a match in his first appearance for the club and he and triallist Agnatius Paasi stood out with some powerful carries of the ball.
Triallist Leva Li also played for the under-20s off the bench, given an opportunity in the centres after playing right wing against the Warriors the previous Saturday.
Damien Sironen and Jai Ingram, trialling for contracts, also worked hard for the Seagulls who fielded Kane Elgey and Jamal Fogarty in the halves. Matt Srama also played about 40 minutes and Davin Crampton was solid in the centres.
Woolf was pleased with his side’s performance, especially their physicality and defensive consistency against their all-aged opponents.
Without last year’s key players – co-captains Jahrome Hughes at fullback and Elgey at halfback – and five-eighth Christian Hazard, the Titans 20s need to find playmakers to fill those positions.
Brian Kelly, who played on the wing last season, scored two tries at fullback and looks to have the inside running for the No. 1 jersey.
Karl Lawton, who came into the side midway through last season as a hooker coming off the bench, looked sharp at five-eighth and did his chances of securing that spot no harm. The battle for the No. 7 jersey is intriguing with Sam Grant impressing in Toowoomba and Braydon Torpy doing some clever things on Saturday, while Hayden Schwass is also vying for the spot for the round one clash with Wests Tigers.
“I was pretty pleased with the effort and there is good competition for a few key positions,” said Woolf.
“Parahi Wilson had his first run since being injured [knee] midway through last season and he was really good defensively and does a lot of the cleaning up around the ruck that you need someone to do.
“It was good to see Oshea Tuiasau return too and he had some strong carries. The boys really stick to their task against older opponents and held together defensively which is what we need to do better this season – stay in the arm wrestle all game.”
Both teams scored four tries each in the match. The Titans NRL side travels to Cairns for Saturday night’s clash with North Queensland while the under-20s head to Rockhampton for their last pre-season hit out.