Titans consider Roberts switch
Bereft of playmaking options due to a horror injury toll Titans coach Neil Henry is manoeuvring his most dangerous attacking weapon closer to the ball in order to unsettle the formidable Roosters defence on Sunday.
Having named Daniel Mortimer and Josh Hoffman in the halves, Henry will start with former Knight Chad Redman at hooker and has named an extended bench consisting of five forwards for the clash at Gosford.
With no back-up hooker available for selection and the expectation that Mortimer will move into dummy half to give Redman a spell at various stages, Henry looks set to bring the electrifying James Roberts in closer to the action.
Should Roberts come in from the centres to spend some time in the halves, Dave Taylor will likely shift out wider from the back row, a position he proved very effective in for the Titans in a number of games last season.
The Titans' most prolific player with 14 tries in 14 games this season, Roberts has received the ball on just 200 occasions to rank eighth among touches for Titans players thus far in 2015.
Although he played some fullback for South Sydney in the under-20s competition, Roberts' entire NRL career to date has been spent in the centres or on the wing but he spent plenty of time at first receiver at training on Wednesday, prompting captain Nate Myles to christen him with the nickname of 'Cherry-Evans'.
Insisting that under-20s hooker Karl Lawton needed more time playing in the Intrust Super Cup before he would receive an NRL call-up, Henry said on Tuesday that he would need to be creative in how he managed his interchanges on Sunday.
"I don't expect [Redman] to play 80 minutes but Daniel Mortimer can move from his role in the halves and we'll just have to do a bit of a shuffle there," Henry said.
"I think we can nurse him through for probably 60 minutes anyway, he's fairly fit, but we'll have to be a bit creative around getting him rests in the game."
Redman and Nene Macdonald will be expected to play a more prominent role in just their second game for the club and Macdonald said that while the injury toll is tough on his new team, there is enough versatility in the squad to trouble the Roosters.
"We've got a few boys that are pretty versatile which is good. Jimmy Roberts can go anywhere and a few of the other boys are slowly coming back," said Macdonald, who will line up against Roosters players who were teammates less than a fortnight ago.
"It's tough with everyone injured but it's good with me and Chad coming here and adding two more men to the field so we'll just see what happens."