Titans name squad for Auckland Nines
Seven players will wear the Titans NRL jersey for the first time at next weekend's Downer NRL Auckland Nines while another returns to the fold more than five years since his last appearance in the NRL.
High profile recruits Ashley Taylor, Tyrone Roberts and Chris McQueen will make their Gold Coast debuts against the Sharks on the opening day of the Auckland Nines next Saturday where they will be joined by exciting teenage prospects in Brian Kelly, Greg Leleisiuao, Shane Wright and Nathan Davis.
But perhaps the man most suited to the shortened form of the game is Shannon Walker who after four years in the Australian Rugby 7s program is trying to force his way back into the NRL courtesy of a 'train and trial' contract with the Titans.
Impressive throughout the pre-season with his speed and agility, the man once dubbed the fastest player in the game returned to the Gold Coast for family reasons and is building an irresistible case for a place on the roster that is in need of genuine strike-power out wide.
Coach Neil Henry said he is excited to see what the youngsters bring to the squad and who can push for an NRL debut at some stage in the 2016 season.
"While we are still looking for outside backs this is the first chance for some of the young guys in our squad to see what they can do in NRL company," Henry said.
"We have Nathan Davis, Brian Kelly and Greg Leleisiuao who haven’t played NRL before and Shannon Walker who is returning to league but they are all keen to prove themselves at the Nines and in the trials and have plenty of pace between them.
"Shane Wright has really worked hard in the pre-season and deserves his chance in this company for the first time and it will be a good test for him.
"It's exciting to have so many fresh faces there."
Outside of the new additions there are plenty of experienced heads in the Titans squad with Greg Bird, William Zillman, David Mead, Ryan James and Daniel Mortimer all part of the 18-man squad.