Gold Coast are set to welcome centre Brian Kelly back for Saturday’s Newcastle clash and utility Tyrone Peachey believes they have the depth to overcome Jamal Fogarty's absence.
The Titans lost Fogarty (quad) and winger Anthony Don (hamstring) in the second half of Saturday night’s 20-4 loss to Canberra at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium which meant, with five-eighth Ash Taylor sidelined by a hand injury, Phillip Sami was forced to shift into the halves.
Taylor is not due back until round six but Kelly was named among the reserves for the Raiders clash and Peachey suggested he could return, effectively in place of Don, for the match against the Knights after recovering from a hand injury.
Tanah Boyd, who has made most of his 17 NRL appearances as the interchange hooker, has played five-eighth in Taylor’s absence against North Queensland and Canberra, and he could be partnered in the halves by rookie play-maker Toby Sexton.
“We have got a lot of good young halves coming through like Toby Sexton so there are a lot of options there,” Peachey said.
“Hopefully we get Brian Kelly back this week and Ash is a chance, so once those fellas come back we will pretty much have our full squad.”
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Peachey, who has been playing lock, would be another option but the former NSW Origin representative doesn't plan to approach Titans coach Justin Holbrook about shifting to five-eighth.
Boyd and 20-year-old Sexton played together in the halves during a pre-season trial against Burleigh Bears, which was the former Australian Schoolboys representative’s first match in more than 12 months as he was among the Titans players who did not get to play last season because of COVID-19.
The Gold Coast have been told they can return home and host Newcastle at Cbus Super Stadium after being forced to relocate to Sydney last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Brisbane.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook and his players refused to use the disruption of having to shift their home game against Canberra to Kogarah as an excuse for the loss but there was no doubt the loss of Fogarty and Don had an impact on their chances.
Fogarty suffered a cork in the opening minute of the match and battled through until the 51st minute, while Don had to be helped from the field 18 minutes from fulltime and is facing a lengthy period on the sideline.
Star forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui ran 201 metres with the ball, while fellow recruit David Fifita and winger Corey Thompson were also among Gold Coast’s best players.
“We will learn from that and will take a lot of lessons out of it,” Peachey said. “We had a lot of troops injured but we had a couple of standouts in Corey Thompson, David Fifita and Tino. They stood up and as a team we have just got to follow.
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“Canberra are a class team and we wanted to test ourselves so we are pretty disappointed with the way we played. We finished the first half well and we were pretty confident [when] we came out in the second half but Canberra showed why they are in the finals every year.
“There is an awesome vibe at the Titans. We had a big pre-season and everyone ripped in. There is a lot of expectation around the club and we are just embracing it.
“Tino, David and Corey have been leading the way so I have nothing but credit for those blokes.”
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