Today is day one of the Aquis Titans pre-season training campaign and there were several fresh faces but many familiar names missing as the club enters a new era with just nine players remaining from the full-time squad of two seasons ago.
And one absentee is winger Kevin Gordon will be lost to the NRL indefinitely at age 25 because of an ongoing injury battle.
Gordon, who has scored 58 tries in 118 games for the Titans since debuting in 2009, has bowed to a chronic hip injury that has plagued him for several seasons. He also battled a knee injury last season which saw him play just six matches for the Titans.
Gordon is currently on an extended break overseas and it was certainly different for teammates not to be greeted by his somewhat eccentric humour when the tough grind of pre-season began today.
He joins on the premature exit list Ben Ridge, also 25, who has retired from the NRL after a torturous run of injury.
“It’s unfortunate that it looks like Kev’s career has ended prematurely because of a degenerative hip condition that has really given him ongoing problems, particularly the past couple of seasons, which affected his agility and ability to stay on the paddock,” said coach Neil Henry.
“On his day Kev was an outstanding winger and a great contributor to this club, and a real personality as well.
“He can be proud of his NRL achievements which includes over 100 games and 50 tries for the Titans, and I’m sure he will put his abundant energy into other areas.”
The changing of the guard at the Titans was obvious as the players resumed training today. Of the players who represented the club at NRL level in 2014, only nine remain in the 2016 squad – Greg Bird, William Zillman, Ryan James, Luke Douglas, David Mead, Anthony Don, Daniel Mortimer, James Roberts and Matt Srama.
The Titans also had new members of the coaching staff on board today in head of performance, Matt Ford, who has joined from Melbourne Storm, strength and power coach Sean Edwards, from South Sydney, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Adam Paulo, from the Broncos.