Titans pair in doubt for Nines
Towering Titans prop Ryan James will have scans on a shoulder injury while Aidan Sezer's hamstring will be monitored as coach John Cartwright tries to finalise his squad of 16 ahead of the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
James didn't return to the field following the opening quarter of Sunday's 36-18 trial win over the Warriors in Auckland while Sezer was a late withdrawal after pulling up sore from Saturday's training session.
With the remaining Nines squads due to be announced on Tuesday, Cartwright said that he won't be taking any risks with players who aren't 100 per cent fit.
"We've got to assess them – it's too early post-game – but we'll go to training tomorrow and they'll go through all the medicals they have to and if they're not right to play then obviously they won't play," Cartwright said.
"[Ryan] has hurt his shoulder, it's just an injury, so we'll get a scan hopefully tomorrow and we'll know later in the week what we're doing with it."
The injury to James was the only sour note for the Titans who recovered from an 18-4 deficit early in the second quarter to score 32 unanswered points, five of the club's new recruits crossing the stripe, including former Cowboy Kalifa Faifai Loa.
Faifai Loa also kicked four goals from seven attempts and with incumbent wingers Kevin Gordon and David Mead firmly entrenched has emerged as an option in the centres.
"He's going to be pushing very hard for a spot," Cartwright said of Faifai Loa. "We've got a lot of depth in that area, especially with him there now. I didn't mention him [earlier] but he was probably one of the pick of the players out there. He was very dangerous and also kicked some goals.
"Maurice Blair was very good, Brad Tighe was very good, Paul Carter was very good... I think we probably had a more experienced side than they did but you can only do what you can with who's in front of you so we were very happy."
Despite only having started a game at hooker once before in his young career, Paul Carter showed plenty to suggest that his NRL debut may come sooner rather than later. Normally a powerfully-built back-rower, Carter was sharp out of dummy half, provided good service to his halves and was solid defensively.
Warriors coach Matt Elliott conceded that with such an inexperienced line-up he went in with little expectations but was delighted with their bright start and the performances of young halves Mason Lino and Carlos Tuimavave.
Prolific tryscorer Tuimoala Lolohea – who is eligible for the Holden Cup competition again in 2014 – crossed twice in the opening 22 minutes in his maiden top grade appearance and gave every indication that he is a player of the future.