Titans Senior Coach Craig Hodges has spoken at the captain’s run ahead of tomorrow’s clash against the Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Here are the coach’s five talking points ahead of the game.
1. Peats out, but Titans lose nothing with Rein
Mitch Rein returns to the Titans starting team against the Dragons, with Nathan Peats withdrawing because of a knee complaint.
Hodges said Peats should not be a long-term injury, but the Titans were fortunate to have Rein to call on.
“It’s not as serious as first thought," Hodges said of Peats' Injury. "Hopefully it’s just a week that will be all he needs.
“He just flared up that dodgy knee in last week’s game but he should be ok. He’s jogging in rehab now.
"(Rein) is a pretty fair replacement, so that’s why there is no stress on our part. If Peats is not 100 per cent, then Mitch is at the moment, so he just comes straight in.”
2. Tyrone Peachey excited for new role in the halves
Utility Tyrone Peachey will play five-eighth with Ash Taylor again being rested from NRL duties, and Hodges said the former NSW State of Origin star was excited about the prospect of getting more Involved and directing the Titans attack.
“I think he’ll bring something that our team needs which is a bit of unscripted footy,” Hodges said.
“We’re trying to play to a certain script, but I think the play that Tyrone will bring will benefit us.
“I think he’s been outstanding, and when we were scratching our heads and wondering who we had left, he was super keen to jump into that position.
“The jumping around (different positions) is just the life of a utility, and that’s his greatest strength,
"I’m not sure which one position is his position, but he can play anywhere. You could put him at fullback or prop in the same game and he’ll do a great job in both positions.”
3. Ash Taylor needs more runs on the board
Hodges said the decision to rest Ash Taylor after a one-week return to the NRL last week against the Roosters was made to "hold him back from himself", with the halfback eager to get back Into regular top-grade footy.
"Ash is really keen to play, and wants to get back to try and help his mates, but he’s just not quite ready yet" Hodges said. "So I think that’s unfair to put him out there when he’s physically not ready.
“He just need a little bit more work. If that happens quickly, then he’ll play quickly. If it take a while, then it takes a while.
"There is no set timeframe (for his return), and there’s nothing sinister behind it. We just probably need to hold him back from himself a little bit at the moment, until he is right to play.
"There’s a lot of scrutiny in the game, and a lot of scrutiny on the position he plays, so to throw him out there well underdone like we did last week … in hindsight, is probably unfair on him.
"He just needs to get some more running in his legs, and with that will come more confidence and more belief.”
4. Turning around last week’s performance
Hodges said the Titans were eager to get back on the field to make amends after last weekend's poor showing against the Rooster in Sydney.
But the Titans still have to overcome a massive injury toll, with Peats becoming the eighth regular first grader - alongside Ryan James, Tyrone Roberts, Michael Gordon, Jack Stockwell, Shannon Boyd, Dale Copley and Keegan Hipgrave - unavailable through injury.
“You would like to think it doesn’t get any worse than last week, that’s for sure,” Hodges said.
“The training has been outstanding again this week. The energy has been really good, and we’ve got the 18 fittest guys in the club at the moment travelling down.
"We’ve certainly got some wounds at the moment, but they’re the 18 fittest guys we can put together.”
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5. The Dragons
While Hodges said he appreciated the difficulties the Dragons were facing this season, he had little time for sympathy as the Gold Coast try to fire over the final five rounds of the competition to avoid the wooden spoon.
“We’re really excited, and keen to take on the Dragons,” Hodges said.
“We haven’t had time to be too sympathetic to them. We’ve got our own worries.
"They’ll turn up down there, they’ve done it for decades – especially at Kogarah.
"But we’ve got our own issues, and we’ve got to sort them out pretty quickly.”