Brennan warns Hipgrave: Stop being baited or start playing reserves
Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan has issued a warning to young bull Keegan Hipgrave to stop reacting to baiting or be dropped to the Intrust Super Cup.
The 21-year-old forward, who last week signed a two-year deal with the Titans, is the man to add the edge of defensive aggression and brutal line-speed to the Gold Coast outfit.
But he has become a target after being too easily lured into unnecessary scuffles with opponents.
In Newcastle last Saturday he conceded a penalty after responding to being grabbed by Knights forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon at a crucial time in the second half, sparking a small melee.
Brennan said, after 14 NRL appearances, it was about time the player he's described as a "loose cannon" learned to temper his emotions.
"He's going to play against a lot of players who are very good at niggling and sledging and, if you're going to be biting each week, you're going to be spending a lot of time on the sideline," Brennan said.
"And if you're doing that, you're going to be spending a lot of time at Tweed or Burleigh.
"He's got a lot of learning to do. He has to be smarter than that [referring to his reaction on Fitzgibbon]. That's just dumb, letting himself get caught up in that sort of stuff."
Hipgrave has been chosen to start again as left-edge second-rower in the side to take on the Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
In response to the coach's "loose cannon" description, Hipgrave said on Monday, "I like that I bring the aggression to the side but... controlled loose cannon [would be better]? Obviously there's the line I need to find sometimes. I don't think anyone likes to give away too many penalties."
Gold Coast will need a solid form reversal to alter their poor record against the Warriors, who have become their nemesis.
The Warriors have won 14 of the past 15 clashes and the Titans have not beaten them at home since 2010.
Brennan said Titans five-eighth AJ Brimson, who was taken off with concussion midway through the second half at Newcastle, should be fine to play but will have to navigate more tests in coming days.
Kane Elgey, on the outer since round seven and not even in the initial squad of 21 last weekend, has been added to the squad as cover.