Gold Coast’s hopes of NRL redemption against Penrith have been given a boost with captain Nate Myles a certainty to take on the Panthers on Saturday.
The Titans skipper has been battling a corked left calf for most of the season after being caught by a teammate during a training session earlier in the year and suffered another bump to the injury during last weekend’s win at Parramatta.
But Titans coach Neil Henry says the Queensland State of Origin forward will be fit to take on the in-form Panthers at CBUS Super Stadium.
“He’s got a leg problem and he’s a little bit sore but we expect him to play,” Henry said.
“It was a relapse of the same thing. He’s had a couple of knocks in the games on the same spot. He’s had to have some modified training to get through that but he had a run this morning and said it’s fine. It’d only be if he takes another direct knock on it.”
The Titans welcome back hooker Beau Falloon from suspension but have lost forward Eddy Pettybourne after he was given a one-game ban by the match review committee.
Henry said he was still debating whether Agnatius Paasi, whose battling a foot injury, would make the team ahead of ex-Canterbury player Lachlan Burr.
Penrith, who thrashed the Titans 40-0 earlier in the season at Bathurst, head north without former Titan Jamal Idris after his season-ending knee injury during last weekend’s win over Manly.
In his place Robert Jennings will make his NRL debut and Henry has urged his players to be wary of the Panthers despite injuries to several key players, including halves pair Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.
“We’ve looked at some vision of Robert Jennings and he’s certainly exciting and the biggest of the Jennings boys,” Henry said.
“They proved last week that even with their starting halves out and a few disruptions to their team, even Jamal Idris going off, they ended up with a fairly comfortable win.
“We’ve got to respect they’re a dangerous side and they’ve still got good confidence.”
The Titans also head into the game seeking their first home win of the season, a fact that’s not lost on Henry.
“We’ve been in games here, even the Broncos game we really stood up there for large parts of the game,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get that first win here. The boys are determined to back up last week’s effort but they know it’s going to be a fairly hard day.”
GOLD COAST v PENRITH – Key Stats
* Gold Coast have won just one of their past 12 matches at home, although six of those losses have been by six points or less.
* Penrith have won just three of their past 12 matches in Queensland – but two of those wins have been against the Titans.
* Gold Coast’s 8.5 penalties conceded per game is the equal-highest in the NRL and the Panthers have 13 of their 23 tries in 2015 from the set following a penalty.