The depth of the Titans playing squad has been further eroded, with forwards Keegan Hipgrave and Shannon Boyd ruled out for the rest of the NRL season.
Hipgrave and Boyd join club captain Ryan James on the long-term injury list. All three are scheduled to return to full training when 2020 pre-season training begins in November.
Boyd has undergone a reconstruction on the shoulder he injured against the Panthers in Round 17, while Hipgrave is being rested as a precautionary measure under concussion protocols after being injured against the Broncos in Round 13.
Hipgrave consulted with and was tested by specialists, and it was decided an extended break from the game was the best result for the young Titan’s future.
That future is extremely bright for the impressive Hipgrave.
Not only is the tough-as-teak second-rower one of the players the Titans will build their new era around, but the intelligent and articulate 22-year-old will complete a Bachelor of Business at QUT at the end of the year.
“You can’t be too careful with this sort of thing, we know that,” Hipgrave said.
“Just being a young player and still studying at university, they said the best decision they could recommend to me was to have this rest and then come back next year fully right to go. I think it is a good decision.
“The work that I am looking to get into after footy is all cognitive-based. I will finish my degree at the end of the year, and then hopefully do an MBA at some stage down the track. For now though, it is about getting the head right and getting back on the field.”
To fill in the time off the playing field and build his business experience, Hipgrave will begin work in the Titans’ Commercial Department under the guidance of Chief Executive Steve Mitchell and Head of Performance and Culture Mal Meninga.
“I have spoken to Steve and Mal and I am looking to do a bit of work in the commercial side of the business, just to dip my toe in the water,” he said.
“I will take more of a role in that over the next six months.
“The future repercussions of concussion are still a grey area, and that is why they are being so cautious and careful in dealing with it. It is better to be safe than sorry.
“The club has gone to every extent to talk to different specialists to find out what the best course of action for me it, and I’m happy with the plan put forward.
“It is weird. I feel fine, and feel like I can do all the training and I’m right to play. But right now I have to wait and get things sorted, and then get on with things again next year.”
Hipgrave, Boyd, James, Tyrone Roberts, Dale Copley, Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson were all missing from the weekend’s loss to the Roosters due to injury
Arrow, Brimson and Roberts are all expected to be available for this weekend’s clash with the Dragons in Sydney.