Embarrassed prop Herman Ese’ese personally apologised to every Titans teammate after his “reckless” send-off in Sunday's 36-point loss to Penrith.
Ese’ese accepted a three-game suspension on Tuesday for his high shot on Brian To’o while lock Tyrone Peachey copped a two-game ban for a crusher tackle which has prompted a pack reshuffle for Saturday’s clash with Canterbury at Cbus Super Stadium.
Moeaki Fotuaika will now start in the front row with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui to move to lock, while Sam Stone and Erin Clark were named in the 17-man team to face the Dogs with young half Toby Sexton a chance to debut after being added to the extended bench alongside Ash Taylor.
Coach Justin Holbrook said the Titans simply must beat any team lower than them on the ladder if they’re to feature in the finals this season, but co-captain Kevin Proctor denied the clash with the last-placed Bulldogs was a critical juncture in their season.
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"It’s not make or break yet, it’s only round 10," Proctor said.
"We just got to stop thinking about that and thinking so far ahead, just think week by week and get some consistency in our game instead of thinking too far ahead and getting ahead of ourselves.
"I think we had big wraps on us at the start of the year and everyone thought too far ahead and I think we just need to focus on week to week and playing consistent footy.
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"We’re tied with a few teams on the same points but our points differential is a little bit worse than theirs.
"If we focus week to week and get some consistent footy and consistent wins that will change our spot on the ladder. Until we do that we can’t think about finals footy."
Ese’ese waited in full playing kit in the tunnel of Suncorp Stadium after Sunday’s game to personally offer a sincere apology to his angered teammates for his first-half banishment.
Proctor said the moment of madness was not the type of behaviour he expected from the gentle giant and he will pay the price with a mini-preseason of fitness training until his possible return in round 14.
“I think he’s had a fair few people speak to him at the moment but I think we just need to give him some support because he obviously feels bad and he has apologised to the group,” Proctor said.
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“I know he didn’t mean to do that, I don’t think anyone means to do that. It was just a reaction and he will learn from this.”
Proctor, meanwhile, was confident he would be fit to face the Bulldogs despite limping through the loss with a left knee injury.
“It’s good, it just copped a direct blow at the start of the game,” he said.
“It was just hard to move at times but it feels good today and hopefully it just keeps getting better during the week.”