Ridge injury sours Titans trial win
The Titans may have paid a heavy price in their trial win over the Warriors in Toowoomba with lock forward Ben Ridge leaving the field in the 14th minute with a recurrence of a pectoral injury, scans to confirm the extent of the damage in coming days.
With both teams taking large squads with very little NRL experience to Toowoomba, the respective attacks were disjointed with the Titans scoring the only two tries of the second half to finish the night as 22-12 victors.
The injury to Ridge, however, shapes as a bitter blow to the Titans who have suffered a wretched run with major injuries in trial games in recent seasons.
Ridge suffered a pectoral injury early in the 2013 season and was sidelined 12 months later by a medial ligament injury to his knee.
Touted midway through last year as the long-term successor to Ashley Harrison as the Titans' lock forward, Gold Coast coach Neil Henry lamented the fact that Ridge's run of bad luck appears to have continued.
"It looks like he's ruptured his pec which is devastating news for him and the boys because he's trained really hard and I thought he was playing some solid footy," Henry said. "He's had a bit of a wretched run with injuries so far in his career but he'll bounce back.
"Just the fact that he's put a real solid pre-season in and was in good shape and was playing some good footy. He can certainly tackle and he's got good technique and was rocking a few of their attackers... He'll bounce back, it's upsetting for everyone but he'll be on the road to recovery soon."
Former Titan Dominique Peyroux opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he swooped on a grubber kick into the in-goal, spilt firstly by fullback Anthony Don and then winger Shaun Hudson.
The Titans muscled up in the opening exchanges but it wasn't long before the Warriors started to dominate the ruck, their first try coming on the back of a fast play-the-ball close to the Titans tryline.
David Hala's first stint as a Titan finished after 13 minutes and then Ridge left the field and headed straight up the tunnel a minute later.
Contract hopeful Leva Li – who had carried the ball strongly earlier in the game – gave Titans coach Neil Henry something to consider when he powered through two defenders in the right corner to get the Titans on the board, Kane Elgey's sideline conversion levelling scores at 6-all through 17 minutes.
The Warriors took advantage of their ruck dominance early in the second quarter when they played short to prop forward Nathaniel Peteru close to the line and he pushed his way through two defenders to give his side the lead again.
A clever offload from Matt Robinson close to the Warriors line allowed Brad Tighe to slide over in the 30th minute with Elgey's successful conversion levelling the scores at 12-all at half-time.
It took until the 57th minute before next points were posted with Jamal Fogarty and James Roberts combining well from a scrum close to the Warriors line, with Fogarty's spiralling pass from five-eighth getting Roberts into space out wide. He put Hudson away with a cut-out pass of his own for an 18-12 advantage at three-quarter time.
Showing what he is capable of with ball in hand and space to run, Roberts impressed during an extended stint at fullback in the second half, laying on a try for Christian Hazard in the 71st minute with a deft grubber into the in-goal, his second try-assist of the night.
For the Titans, Kierran Moseley showed enough spark out of dummy-half to warrant consideration for a bench spot in Round 1 while Agnatius Paasi was the player still searching for a contract who did most to press his claims. Jai Ingram also finished the game strongly.
Young halves Fogarty, Elgey and Hazard all had good touches but will have to further hone their games in the Intrust Super Cup before earning an NRL call-up.
Very few of the Warriors trial squad will be in line to play NRL in the early stages of the season but Raiders recruit Matthew Allwood displayed good footwork in the centres and 23-year-old prop Peteru was a dominant presence in the middle of the ruck.
Titans 22 (Leva Li, Brad Tighe, Shaun Hudson, Christian Hazard tries; Kane Elgey 2, Jamal Fogarty goals) def. Warriors 12 (Dominique Peyroux, Nathaniel Peteru tries; Api Pewhairangi 2 goals) at Clive Berghofer Oval, Toowoomba. Crowd: 6,827.