Gold Coast has made three changes to its team for Friday’s NRL derby against Brisbane with Paul Carter, Matthew White and Luke Bailey to return.
Prop Ryan James and hooker Matt Srama have paid the price for Gold Coast’s 40-18 NRL humbling by South Sydney after being left out of the Titans team to play Brisbane on Friday.
James and Srama have both been axed by coach John Cartwright for the south-east Queensland derby with Matthew White, Luke Bailey and Paul Carter all coming back into the line-up.
Back-rower Greg Bird is poised to miss the match regardless of the outcome of his grading challenge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
In his place veteran Mark Minichiello will move into the No.11 jersey with White, Bailey and Carter all named on the interchange bench.
Cartwright said he made the shuffle in response to the disappointing outing against the Rabbitohs last Saturday.
“We probably needed a little bit of a freshen up,” Cartwright said.
“(He was) not happy with the performance against Souths but it was only one game in a long season. Up until then we’d been playing reasonably well.
“It’s not a major shake-up but there’s some new guys coming into the team.”
The Titans have also named lock Ashley Harrison with the veteran to face a concussion test during the week before a final decision is made on his availability.
Harrison copped a head knock late in the loss to Souths and has been cleared of initial concerns over a neck injury but remains a minor doubt.
Cartwright also said Maurice Blair and Brad Tighe need more time gaining match fitness in the Queensland Cup, meaning Will Zillman retains his spot in the centres.
Zillman will likely face off against Broncos star Justin Hodges but Cartwright says he’s confident the Titan is up to the task of stopping the Queensland representative.
“Mate, wouldn’t pick him if he wasn’t up to it,” he said.
“That’s the criteria for playing first grade.”
Titans: David Mead, Kevin Gordon, William Zillman, Brad Takairangi, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles, Mark Minichiello, David Taylor, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Matthew White, Luke Bailey, Cody Nelson, Paul Carter, Mark Ioane.