Titans half Ryley Jacks intends to use the continued absence of Ash Taylor to fight for his NRL future as he waits patiently for any offers to be placed before him.
In a lengthy and physical session on Tuesday morning Taylor looked a long way from an NRL return as he battles personal issues. A stint in the Intrust Super Cup with Tweed Heads seems his most likely route back to first grade.
Given the Titans' lowly position on the ladder it is not inconceivable that he could miss the remainder of the season as the club considers the long-term well-being of their most prized asset.
Taylor's absence will allow 27-year-old Jacks to add to his five games that he has played for the Titans this season, providing him with the opportunity to impress Gold Coast officials or representatives from rival clubs.
After changing representation late last season, Jacks' new management confirmed to NRL.com that his next contract is currently "a work in progress".
Jacks will be eager to leave his stamp on Friday night's clash with the Panthers in Sydney.
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Sporting stitches above his left eye from a head clash with teammate Jai Whitbread in the disappointing loss to Manly last start, Jacks says the uncertain timeline around Taylor gives him no choice to but to treat every game like it's his last.
"I didn't know that about Ash, I don't know what his situation is,” Jacks said when informed Taylor would be out for at least two more weeks.
"He's going really well around the place and has got a smile on his face so hopefully he can get back as soon as he can but there's an opportunity there for me.
"I've just got to keep playing each game like it’s my last and keep trying to prove to the coach and to the team that I can play No.7.”
Friday’s clash with the Panthers will be the fourth game in succession that Jacks and Gold Coast captain Tyrone Roberts have been partnered in the halves.
They opened with a convincing 26-18 win over the Broncos in round 13 before a narrow loss to the Warriors a week later.
The Titans suffered a disappointing home loss at the hands of the Sea Eagles in round 15, followed by a round 16 bye.
"The bye didn't come at a good time, I wanted to keep playing so hopefully this week we can improve that combo,” Jacks said.
"I think we're building. That's three games in a row together. I didn't feel that we were ever in that game against Manly so that was a backwards step but that Broncos and Warriors games, I thought we were controlling the game really well.”
Reinvigorated after spending a few days in camp with the Queensland Maroons, fullback AJ Brimson also believes the team’s fortunes will improve the more Jacks and Roberts play together.
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"Their combination is working well together. When they're working well together it just flows into my game,” Brimson said.
"If they're on the same page the whole team's on the same page. The more they play together the better the team's looking."
Prop Shannon Boyd missed Tuesday’s session with a virus but is expected to be fit to face Penrith, while Tyrone Peachey trained strongly after missing the Manly game with a pec strain.
England international Kallum Watkins trained well but won’t be available for selection until his working visa paperwork has been processed.