A freak Greg Bird injury could not stop Gold Coast Titans notching a scrappy 28-12 NRL home win over Canberra on Sunday that may have helped them avoid the wooden spoon.
Bird appears to have played his last game for 2015 after he tore his quad kicking off to start the game.
He immediately trudged down the player race in what may be the Titans’ last sighting of the Test forward this season.
Titans coach Neil Henry has plenty more to worry about despite the Gold Coast notching just their second win in nine games to move away from the NRL cellar.
Halfback Kane Elgey provided a rare highlight for the Titans by setting up three tries, scoring one himself and taking over goalkicking duties to amass a 12-point personal haul in front of just 8,762 fans.
However, he has been placed on report for tripping Raiders centre Joey Leilua in the 29th minute.
Backrower Ryan James’ 26th minute try helped Gold Coast claim a 14-12 halftime lead but he was placed on report in the 36th minute for a dangerous tackle on Canberra halfback Sam Williams.
James had to recover from a collision with teammate Dave Taylor following the hit on Williams.
But Canberra’s hulking centre “BJ” Leilua may be in the biggest trouble after being placed on report for a 52nd minute shoulder charge on David Mead.
At least the Titans are on track to avoid their second wooden spoon in five seasons.
They moved to 20 competition points with two games to go ahead of Wests Tigers (18pts) who were thrashed 40-18 by Cronulla on Saturday and the Knights (18pts) who play in Melbourne on Monday night.
They moved into a block of four teams on 20 points including Canberra who were knocked out of finals contention by last round’s 26-24 loss to Manly.
Giant forward Dave Taylor was originally named at five-eighth by Henry with Aidan Sezer (shoulder) out for the season.
But Dan Mortimer slotted into the halves with comeback-kid, Elgey who looks to provide plenty of competition for Gold Coast-bound Knights half Tyrone Roberts next year.