Hurrell to make Titans debut in Darwin
Former Warrior Konrad Hurrell has been handed the unenviable task of helping to fix the Titans' shoddy right-side defence against a Parramatta team boasting one of the most lethal left sides in the Telstra Premiership.
Hurrell will make his debut for the Gold Coast on Saturday night in Darwin after completing the team's final training run in hot and humid conditions in the Northern Territory on Friday afternoon, taking the place of former Eels junior Nathan Davis at right centre.
Quite incredibly it will mark the first time Hurrell has started an NRL game thus far this season with his final appearances for the Warriors all coming from the bench before he was eventually released from his contract.
The first assignment is a daunting one with Michael Jennings and Semi Radradra to be running at him and wing partner Anthony Don all evening but Titans coach Neil Henry said he was excited for his inclusion for the crucial Round 14 clash.
"He's a powerful runner of the ball and even though he hasn't played for a few weeks he's been working extremely hard," Henry told Titans TV.
"Matt Ford and Sean Edwards (Titans strength and conditioning coaches) have been training him and getting him up to speed and he's had a couple of ballwork sessions with the boys now and is starting to become a bit more familiar with our plays.
"Hopefully he'll be a valuable addition and a bit of strike-power out on that edge to counter Jennings on that side who is a very good attacking player as well."
Whilst he can be damaging in attack it will be Hurrell's communication with Don and Chris McQueen on the right edge in defence that will be of most importance against the Eels.
All five of the Rabbitohs' tries against the Titans last Sunday come down that side of the field and Henry conceded it has been an area they have needed to address this week.
"Our right side have really got a job to do against their left edge which is very strong with [Manu] Ma'u on that side with Jennings and Radradra and Corey Norman so it's going to be a tough day," he said.
"They've got some injury problems with [Kieran] Foran and [Brad] Takairangi out but they're still a powerful forward pack and if Kenny Edwards is playing in the halves he's a powerful man to have out there too.
"The boys did a fair bit of left on right yesterday and it was pleasing when Ash Taylor talked to the press after the [Rabbitohs] game one of the first things he said was that we leaked a few tries down that side and we needed to fix up our defence.
"We missed far too many tackles last week and thankfully so did Souths but we let them back into the game at 18-0 up. We won't get the same latitude against this team. They're very powerful with the ball and their completion rate has been pretty good.
"It's a game where we need to be a lot better defensively than we were last week otherwise we'll be chasing points."