Titans five remain on the outer
The five Titans players currently facing drugs charges could be late additions to Gold Coast's team to face Penrith on Saturday despite not being named by coach Neil Henry on Tuesday.
Legal representatives for Greg Bird, Dave Taylor and Kalifa Faifai Loa each signalled their clients' intentions to plead not guilty to a number of drugs charges on Monday with their cases to be heard on May 8.
Only one change has been made to the team that lost by a point to the Wests Tigers last weekend with Lachlan Burr promoted to the starting side and Matt Robinson moving back to the bench. Winger Kevin Gordon was in doubt with a shoulder injury but has been cleared to take his place in the team while William Zillman is expected to come through mid-week concussion tests with no issues.
A decision by the Titans board in conjunction with the NRL Integrity Unit and the Players Association is yet to be made on whether the players will be available to play in the interim but Henry said that if given the all clear the likes of Bird, Taylor and Beau Falloon could all play as early as this week.
"The calibre of a few of the players that aren't able to participate at the moment would come back into the side somewhere in the 17," Henry said.
"They're certainly missing out on a bit of ballwork but some of the things that we're doing haven't changed too much anyway. The main thing was that they could keep up their conditioning and their strength and looking after themselves because these boys are doing a high volume of work and playing and the other guys aren't playing at the moment.
"We're still supportive of our players that aren't here and we hope that there's an early resolution and this doesn't drag on for too long at all."
Henry was in attendance at a meeting between the board, legal representatives and the Players Association on Monday afternoon but intimated that there are further discussions that need to take place before a resolution is reached.
"There's no point naming players when we don't know whether they're available," said Henry.
"That issue still hasn't been resolved, it's unlikely to be resolved in the next day or two so it's hypotheticals at the moment.
"If players become available then I'll make some changes in relation to the team but at the moment they're not looking like they'll be available for Round 2.
"[A decision] doesn't have to come [on Wednesday], we don't leave until Thursday but there still needs to be some dialogue between the representatives and the players and the board in particular and the NRL.
"It's something that I think is going to take a little bit of time. There has been some headway made in talking about the future of the players and what we can do but no decisions have been made yet."
The unlikely nature of those players becoming available allows Henry to focus on taking an unchanged squad to Bathurst, just reward for players who probably weren't expected to figure this early in the season.
Agnatius Paasi and Lachlan Burr ran for 89 and 87 metres respectively off the bench against the Tigers in Round 1 and Henry said they earned their right to keep their place in the team.
"I don't know where you'd get four or five changes from, I thought the effort was pretty good," said Henry. "Agnatius Paasi in particular played well up front and deserves to hold on to his spot, I thought the outside backs were pretty good too.
"The guys who went out there really put their hand up and it was a bit unfortunate that we weren't able to get away with the win.
"We need to take that attitude into every game and we'd expect no less when we get down to Carrington Park in Bathurst."