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Titans back-rower Bryce Cartwright.

The Titans have chosen six 2018 recruits, and four who played no part in their two pre-season trial matches, in their 17 to take on Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm Qld time).

The new boys are fullback Michael Gordon - by far the team’s most experienced back with 225 NRL appearances - props Jai Arrow and Leilani Latu, lock Bryce Cartwright and bench forward Will Matthews, who debuted for the Titans as a 20-year-old in 2008 before playing six seasons with the Dragons.

Winger Anthony Don has recovered from a shoulder injury and takes his place on the right wing, alongside Arrow (ribs), Morgan Boyle (shoulder) and Kiwi international Kevin Proctor (throat) who also have not taken the field since last season.

A feature of the Titans’ opening side of the season is the youth up front in the absence of Queensland representative Jarrod Wallace. With skipper Ryan James starting on the left edge in the second row, starting props are Arrow (22), Latu (25) and interchange men Max King (21) and Boyle (21). They have 105 NRL appearances between them.

Coach Garth Brennan says James will play some of the match in the middle with lock Cartwright and bench forward Matthews able to play on an edge while Peats is able to play lock if the need arises when relieved by Rein.

“Ryan has a massive motor, so he can quite easily drift between the edge and the middle,” said Brennan whose biggest desire is to see some “really steely defence” from his troops.

“Max King and Morgan Boyle are out-and-out middle players so they can do the job there.”

Brennan has no concerns that he will field four players, three of them forwards, without any trial form.

Titans captain Ryan James.
Titans captain Ryan James. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

“I wouldn’t risk anyone if I didn’t think they were right and the contact session we just had was pretty physical. I’m not silly enough to throw anyone out there I thought couldn’t do the job especially against a quality side like the Canberra Raiders.”

Arrow, like his good mate Wallace who moved from the Broncos a year earlier, is ready to make his mark in the front row and Brennan says that, despite his lack of game time because of a rib injury suffered in training, he is ready.

“I didn’t want to risk him in a trial; he has trained the house down in the off-season, one of our stand-outs really,” Brennan said.

Gold Coast Titans forward Jai Arrow.
Gold Coast Titans forward Jai Arrow. ©Scott Davis / NRL Photos/Scott Davis / NRL Photos

“It’s his [a starting position] to hold onto. Whether Jarrod comes straight back in, and where he comes into the side, depends on how the players go over the next few weeks when he is suspended.

“He is a quality player and will be in the squad somewhere naturally, but I think it is important that those who do get an opportunity take it with both hands in his absence.”

The Titans side:

1. Michael Gordon

2. Anthony Don

3. Dale Copley

4. Konrad Hurrell

5. Phillip Sami

6. Kane Elgey

7. Ash Taylor

8. Jai Arrow

9. Nathan Peats

10. Leilani Latu

11. Kevin Proctor

12. Ryan James

13. Bryce Cartwright


14. Mitch Rein

15. Max King

16. Will Matthews

17. Morgan Boyle

18. Joe Greenwood

19. Jai Whitbread

20. Tyronne Roberts-Davis

21. Alexander Brimson

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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