New Gold Coast recruit John Olive could be rushed into the side for their NRL season opener against Newcastle on Sunday, paperwork permitting.
Olive has joined the Titans a year earlier than expected after South Sydney granted the 19-year-old an immediate release to move to the Gold Coast, with whom he had already agreed on a two-year contract starting in 2017.
Rated as one of the competition’s best young outside backs, Olive has been given permission to train with the Titans but cannot play for the team until the NRL gives the official sign-off on the move.
That is likely to happen before Sunday’s clash at cBus Super Stadium – and if it does, coach Neil Henry will consider throwing him into the mix.
“He made it here pretty quickly and he’s settled in. He’s an outstanding schoolboy talent,” Henry said.
“It’s subject to everything being squared off, the cooling period has to be waivered and things like that.
“Both clubs have agreed to it but it’s waiting for the NRL to sign off on it whether or not he’d be available this weekend. At the moment he’s not in the picture but time will tell.”
Olive couldn’t have timed his arrival on the tourist strip any better with the Titans currently battling a mini-injury crisis in the backs.
Co-captain Will Zillman (calf) has been named to face the Knights but is in doubt, and if he doesn’t play, it’s anticipated David Mead will play in the No.1 jersey.
That would open up a spot out wide for Olive, although Henry may also consider Leva Li, Brian Kelly or Greg Leleisiuao for the vacancy.
Meanwhile, former Parramatta flyer Nathan Davis has been named in the centres and is one of seven players who will make their Titans debuts on Sunday.
The others are halves Tyrone Roberts and Ashley Taylor, prop David Shillington, second-rower Zeb Taia and Queensland Origin representative Chris McQueen.
It is a thin squad on paper – the Titans are missing Kane Elgey (knee) for the season, plus Nene Macdonald (knee) for the next two years and Luke Douglas (suspension) for one week – but McQueen said the new-look Gold Coast shouldn’t be underestimated.
“From the outside looking in, there might not be much expectation,” McQueen said.
“But we as a playing group and coaching staff have expectations.
“I said it a couple weeks ago, we’re not here to be anyone’s whipping boy.”