Jarryd Hayne is set to get a new Gold Coast halves partner for Saturday’s NRL clash with bottom-placed Newcastle, with ex-Knight Tyrone Roberts a likely late inclusion.
A knee injury forced Roberts to miss Hayne’s first two matches since the dual Dally M medallist joined the Titans.
Titans coach Neil Henry said the 25-year-old would travel to Newcastle after training with the team on Friday.
Henry was coy over whether Roberts would face his former club but it’s understood he’s a strong chance to play, allowing youngster Ash Taylor to rest his battered body.
Taylor is managing groin and hip complaints and the Titans are wary of pushing the 21-year-old with finals on the horizon.
While Henry wouldn’t say if Roberts would play, co-captain Nathan Friend gave the biggest hint when asked how Hayne was settling into the club.
“He’ll probably have another halves partner,” Friend said.
“I’m not quite sure what Kingy (Henry) has done just yet but he may have another halves partner beside him again so he probably can’t settle in as much as he’d like.”
The Titans head south desperate to avoid a slip-up against a Knights team on a club-record 15-match losing streak.
After a thrilling one-point win over Wests Tigers last weekend lifted the Titans back into the top eight, Henry said his team would be foolish to relax against a Knights team with just one win this season.
“We’ve got to respect their ability to play. They have got some good players, some young players in their team that are developing all the time,” he said.
“We need to go down there and get the job done.”
Ryan James’ successful downgrading of a careless tackle charge on Tigers’ fullback James Tedesco means the Titans’ forward is available for the Hunter Stadium clash in an unchanged lineup for the visitors barring Roberts’ possible inclusion for Taylor.
Livewire winger Nathan Ross has been included for the Knights with Pat Mata’utiua making way while Jeremy Smith and Pauli Pauli have been added to an extended 19-man squad.
KNIGHTS v TITANS – Key match stats
* Newcastle is trying to avoid becoming just the sixth team in history to lose 16 straight matches in a season.
* The Titans are chasing a third straight away win for the first time since round eight, 2015.
* Titans’ fullback David Mead has scored four tries in five matches at Hunter Stadium.
(Source: Fox Sports Stats)