Titans halves crisis worsens
Halfback Kane Elgey will need "a drastic recovery" to face the Raiders on Sunday and five-eighth Aidan Sezer may have played his final game for the club as the Titans face an end to the season without their primary playmakers.
Less than 24 hours after the announcement that Knights half Tyrone Roberts would be joining the club in 2016, coach Neil Henry named a Titans team for Sunday minus both Sezer (shoulder) and Elgey (hip).
Gold Coast will also be without Lachlan Burr who has accepted the early guilty plea to a shoulder charge stemming from last week's loss to the Bulldogs but welcome back captain Nate Myles and second-rower Ryan James.
Six of the Titans' seven wins this season have come when Sezer and Elgey have been partnered in the halves but it will be Daniel Mortimer and Josh Hoffman entrusted with the key roles against the Canberra combination of Blake Austin and Sam Williams.
Elgey's hip injury kept him out of last Sunday's loss to Canterbury and Henry said with little left to play for in 2015 he won't be risked if he is suffering any ill effects of the strain to his adductor muscle and bruising to the hip.
"He hasn't run. We'll see how he goes Thursday but I don't think at this stage of his career it's worth taking him out there if he's 70 per cent fit," Henry said.
"He's going to have to make a drastic recovery to come into contention.
"We missed out [against Canterbury] with Aidan off the field and he was doing 90 per cent of our kicking so that fell away a bit at the back-end of the game and we conceded those tries late which was disappointing."
With swelling around the shoulder the Titans don't yet have a clear picture of the extent of the injury to Sezer but Henry conceded that the 24-year-old's 71st game for the club in Round 23 may have been his last.
"I think he's unlikely to return but you never know with these things," Henry said.
"He's got a lot of fluid around the shoulder at the moment. The MRI is saying there is a tear there somewhere but we'll need to get the swelling out of it first before they have a look at it and whether he needs an arthroscopy to have a look at it.
"It's not a major shoulder problem but it's something you would say in the context of the season would be 3-4 weeks anyway and the fact is we've only got three weeks left so he's unlikely to return."
With limited options in the halves and an inexperienced three-quarter line Henry said it is important they take the big Raiders forward pack on through the middle in order to open up time and space for the outside men.
"It needs to be something we do, take them on in the middle third and match them there if not create a few opportunities with our go-forward," said Henry.
"If we can do that then our inexperienced backline can take some advantage of that.
"Greg Bird has a bit of creativity around the way he plays so we'll need that and we'll also need our outside backs to be a fair bit better than they were last week."