New Titans recruits to face Warriors
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright will unleash some of the club's new signings when the Titans face the Warriors in this Saturday's first NRL trial at North Harbour Stadium in Albany.
Cartwright has confirmed ex-Cronulla prop Luke Douglas, former Melboure centre Beau Champion and hooker Beau Falloon will all line up against the 2011 NRL grand finalists.
The Titans have named a 22-man squad for the clash. The Titans will be be back in Auckland early in the NRL season, meeting the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium in the fourth round.
Returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the Titans' 2011 campaign will be speedy winger Kevin Gordon.
The notable omissions from the squad are Indigenous All Stars representatives Scott Prince, Jamal Idris and Greg Bird along with NRL All Stars representative Luke Bailey. The quartet will all remain on the Gold Coast next week for Saturday night’s All Stars clash at Skilled Park.
Cartwright said the opening trial match provided a good chance for some of the club’s new faces to show their wares as he looks to field full-strength sides in the club’s final pre-season hit-outs against the Broncos at Pizzey Park on Saturday February 11 and Cowboys in Mackay on Saturday, February 18.
“It’s their first game for the club,’’ said Cartwright of the new faces.
“I think the Broncos trial will be a very important one for us - being at home we want to do well in that - so I wanted the new guys to get a taste and get some footy in their legs.
“Hopefully we’ll get a bit closer to a side that’ll resemble what’s going to be the side against the Broncos and Cowboys.’’
The 22-man squad to take on the Warriors includes 16 players with NRL experience, with only Javarn White, Joe Vickery, Luke Page, Louis Fanene, Cody Nelson and Jamie Dowling yet to play first grade.
“It’ll be pretty tough over there. I think the Warriors have indicated that they’re going to go with their best side so really the guys that aren’t going have all had some sort of niggle throughout the off-season. The 22 that are going have all had great off-season and we want to go out there and be competitive.
“It’s different for us, we’ve never played with pretty much our full squad in the first trial and travelling over the New Zealand too, it doesn’t get any tougher than that.’’
Front rower Douglas, who attended last weekend's NSW Blues in Waiting camp in Sydney, impressively notched 146 consecutive matches for the Cronulla Sharks between 2006 and 2011 before signing with the Titans for 2012 in a boost for the club’s depth in the forward pack.
Two-time Indigenous All Stars representative Champion will make his anticipated debut for the club after establishing himself as a strike centre for Souths from 2005 to 2010 before playing last season with the Melbourne Storm.
Champion’s housemate and former Souths teammate Falloon has been named on the interchange bench and is set to share the hooking duties at dummy half for the trial match with starting No.9 Kayne Lawton.
Former Norths Devils fullback White, who won last year’s Queensland Cup Player of the Year award, has been named to start in the No.1 jersey while former Melbourne Storm NYC Under-20s second rower Fanene will play off the interchange bench.
The Titans will arrive in Auckland on Thursday.
Gold Coast Titans:
Javarn White; Kevin Gordon, Steve Michaels, Dominique Peyroux, Joe Vickery; Jordan Rankin, Beau Henry; Michael Henderson, Kayne Lawton, Matthew White; Ben Ridge, Bodene Thompson; Luke O'Dwyer. Interchange: Brenton Lawrence, Luke Douglas, Luke Page, Louis Fanene, Cody Nelson, Beau Falloon, Beau Champion, David Mead, Jamie Dowling.
Warriors: Lewis Brown, Glen Fisiiahi, Nathan Friend, Pita Godinet, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Krisnan Inu, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, James Maloney, Simon Mannering (capt), Alehana Mara, Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Ivan Penehe, Sam Rapira, Steve Rapira, Ukuma Ta'ai, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Elijah Taylor, Carlos Tuimavave, Bill Tupou.