THE Gold Coast Titans are battling an injury crisis of the eve of their NRL derby with Brisbane following the late withdrawals of classy halfback Albert Kelly and dangerous winger Kevin Gordon.
With forward leader Greg Bird serving the first game of a two-match suspension and veteran defender Ashley Harrison also out injured, the further losses of Kelly and Gordon will hit hard.
Coach John Cartwright has named ex-Cowboy and New Zealand and Samoan Test player Kalifa Faifai Loa on the wing for Gordon, while Beau Henry has been rushed into the side to cover for Kelly (hamstring), rated an outside shot at a NSW Origin bench utility role.
While it is hard to see the Titans overcoming injuries to such crucial players, Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin stressed his players would not be lulled into thinking a weakened Titans will be any less dangerous than when they beat the Broncos 12-8 in round six.
"They're a great side and like everyone, as we have, you go through periods where you lose a few key players," he said. "If anything, I think it will inspire them more to lift for the occasion."
Griffin said the last time they played the Titans there was nothing between the sides.
The Broncos coach has handed 22-year-old Jarrod Wallace his NRL starting debut after dumping expensive off-season recruit Martin Kennedy to the Queensland Cup. Wallace, 106kg, made his NRL debut off the bench against the Roosters in round 14 of 2012 and has been a work in progress since with almost 20 games off the interchange.
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