The Gold Coast Titans' bid for a second straight victory have been dealt a blow with both David Mead and Albert Kelly in doubt to face the Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Following the short turnaround from their stunning 14-10 defeat of South Sydney in Sydney on Monday night, Mead and Kelly have both been named in a provisional Gold Coast team that may have a very different look about it by Sunday.
Origin trio Greg Bird, Nate Myles and Dave Taylor have each been named in the 21-man squad with Bird named in the starting side and Myles and Taylor on an extended eight-man bench.
Mead and Kelly sparked the Titans' comeback with a clever try six minutes before half-time after the Rabbitohs led 8-0 after 29 minutes and then Mead came up with a crucial try-saving tackle on South Sydney winger Nathan Merritt eight minutes from time that preserved his side's four-point advantage.
It may have come at a cost though with Titans coach John Cartwright confirming Mead suffered a hamstring injury late in the game that will likely prevent him from taking the field on Sunday.
"Davey Mead could have done a hamstring. He's done it to some level, we're not too sure yet, but he'd be in a fair bit of doubt this week," Cartwright said upon the team's return to the Gold Coast.
"I think he did it pretty late in the game. He got tackled in tight; I think it was around when he got that knock to the head."
Kelly will also be closely monitored after his left calf pulled up sore, his place in the 17 dependent on whether he can get through the training session on Thursday.
Coming off the bench against the Rabbitohs, Kelly showed plenty of energy both in attack and defence and Cartwright conceded that there is the temptation to continue to use the mercurial talent as an impact player.
"He tightened up again on his calf. It's a funny one because we just can't seem to get to the root of the problem but it's playable," Cartwright said, his sense of relief evident after avoiding a club record seventh straight defeat. "We've just got to treat it, manage it get him as good as we can for the weekend.
"When he comes in fresh against a tiring side he's just that little bit more dangerous. Again, we'll just have to see how he feels mainly and how the boys come through Origin. We won't be able to really come up with a side until Saturday.
"He's going to have to train most of the week. We won't really be on the field from now until probably Thursday so hopefully get a session out on Thursday and then a light one on Saturday."
Now immersed in the logjam of teams from fourth to 12th separated by just two competition points, the Titans desperately need to arrest their awful home record of two wins from eight games this season and dispose of the Raiders on Sunday.
In the corresponding fixture following Origin III last season, Cartwright rested both Myles and Bird from the team that went down to the Sea Eagles 38-20 and although Mark Ioane, Cody Nelson and Tom Kingston were strong in their absence against the Rabbitohs, their precarious for-and-against means that every win is critical to their finals aspirations.
"We'll see what we've got here with us at the moment and see how ferocious the third Origin is," Cartwright said of the chances of Bird, Myles and Dave Taylor being rested. "If they play or they don't they'll get a big chunk of next week off."