Further injuries for battered Titans
The Gold Coast Titans' horror run of injuries to start the 2017 season continued on Sunday afternoon in Auckland, with three players failing to finish the match against the Warriors due to knocks picked up in the 28-22 loss.
The 14th-placed Titans lost fullback Tyrone Roberts (knee), back-rower Joe Greenwood (concussion) and prop Nathaniel Peteru (foot) to match-ending injuries at Mount Smart Stadium, while hooker Ryan Simpkins was taken off but eventually played on through back spasms.
It adds to an already heaving casualty ward at the club, with the trio joining Nathan Peats, Pat Politoni, John Olive, Jarryd Hayne, William Zillman, Dan Sarginson, Agnatius Paasi and Konrad Hurrell as injured Titans ahead of Round 6.
Centre Dale Copley told NRL.com the attrition rate was the worst he had witnessed in his nine-year career.
"No I haven't seen anything this bad, I can't remember ever seeing an injury toll like this," Copley said.
"But it's across the whole NRL, I think we are probably the hardest hit but I think the amount of players lost in the whole NRL this year is unprecedented.
"They do hurt the team, I think everyone here is pretty over talking about injuries but they just keep happening and happening.
"It's not changing, we can't click our fingers and get blokes back, so whoever is named in the 17 next week will have a job to do and we will be confident they can do it."
Despite going down early against the Warriors, the Gold Coast had looked the superior team through the opening stanza and held a commanding 22-12 lead at the break thanks to tries from Copley, Daniel Vidot and a double to Kane Elgey.
Speaking post-match on Sunday, coach Neil Henry said the injuries had been a contributing factor in his side's second-half collapse, which saw them fail to score a single point while conceding 16.
"We made our last interchange I think with 20 [minutes] to go. We got a HIA (free interchange for a concussion test) when Joe Greenwood came off, which got Chris Grevsmuhl back on… so with 19 to go we were out of interchanges," Henry said.
"It put a bit of pressure on the guys that were out there, particularly in the middle.
"Particularly with Koni [Hurrell] not playing, we had already moved a back-rower out to the centres.
"They are all reasons for things happening but they are not really excuses."
The Titans will now sweat on the fitness of a handful of players ahead of hosting the Raiders on Saturday night, with Roberts their most serious injury concern to come out of Round 5.