Taylor still sidelined for Titans
Cameron Cullen is in line to play his first NRL game on home soil on Sunday with fellow Titans half Ashley Taylor expected to miss another week with suspected nerve damage around his ribs.
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry named the same 17 that went down in golden point to the Bulldogs on Saturday to face Melbourne at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday, the addition of Lachlan Burr to an extended bench the only change.
Daniel Mortimer (hamstring) and Eddy Pettybourne (dislocated finger) were not named and are unlike to figure until after next weekend's representative round.
Admitted to hospital late last week with stomach pains, Taylor was cleared of any 'mystery illness' but is now believed to have suffered nerve damage in a Gareth Widdop tackle in which he was also concussed and had to leave the field.
Last weekend's loss to the Bulldogs was just Cullen's second appearance in the top grade and although he is likely to be targeted by Melbourne's big back-rowers Henry is confident he is up to the task.
"He had a nice double-pump for a short ball for Zeb Taia to score and he's fairly brave," Henry said of Cullen, who played his junior football for the Tweed Coast Raiders.
"He shot out of the line on [Josh] Jackson and they scored a try there so our edge defence needs looking at but he's a two-game veteran so he's learning all the time.
"One thing he has got is that he doesn't die wondering and he certainly adds a spark when he's out there.
"[Taylor] did some kicking this morning but he's still a bit inconvenienced by what we think is a nerve problem around a rib injury so you'd have to say he's in a fair bit of doubt.
"He hasn't done any ballwork for a while now so we've kept Cameron Cullen there.
"It's not really a rib cartilage injury, it's a bit of a funny one. You have got a lot of nerves that run in that area and they think that's been trapped and why he's had a lot of pain."
On the back of four consecutive losses – all by a margin of eight points or less – the Titans now sit in 10th position and facing a Melbourne team who inflicted a 34-16 defeat back in Round 2.
Impressed by the Storm's 42-0 demolition job on a poor Warriors outfit on Monday night, Henry has faith in his team's ability to compete but did mutter the dreaded 'D' word in stressing the importance of Sunday's clash.
"I wouldn't say we're desperate but we know we need to improve in some key areas to get a result," Henry said.
"Last time we played Melbourne we really were in the game for large parts and they got quick tries in two blocks of five minutes that opened the game up.
"We know we can compete there and they are coming off the back of a very strong win but we'll go into that game with some confidence.
"They built some early pressure and the Warriors had a few defensive lapses and they just couldn't get into the game.
"It was a pretty dominant performance. I hope it's taken a bit out of them but I don't think it has."