Days after being cleared of injury, halfback Adam Reynolds again appears in doubt ahead of Sam Burgess’ official South Sydney return on Saturday night.
Titans coach Neil Henry was unsure whether Reynolds would feature in Rabbitohs colours for the first time this season in the Gold Coast NRL trial after not sighting the South Sydney playmaker at training on Friday.
The Rabbitohs went through their drills at Pizzey Park right outside Henry’s office.
Besides unleashing Burgess, Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire had also looked forward to giving Reynolds precious time with new pivot Cody Walker in the weekend trial after scans on Monday cleared the halfback of a fractured foot following the All Stars.
Another Reynolds injury would open the door for Luke Keary to maintain pressure for a starting halves spot when he returns from a hip complaint on the Gold Coast.
Comment on Reynolds was being sought from South Sydney.
Henry still expected a Greg Inglis-led Rabbitohs to provide a timely yardstick for his Titans.
“I don’t know whether Adam Reynolds will play after not training today but they are near to full strength,” he said.
“They will be a good gauge.”
Henry had his own halfback headache.
The Titans halfback jinx appears to have struck again with No.7 Ash Taylor (shoulder) also looming as a no show at Pizzey Park on Saturday night.
Henry had hoped to give Taylor another chance to gel with new pivot Tyrone Roberts after being thrust into the halfback role when Kane Elgey (knee) broke down in the pre-season.
“We will see if things settle down. He is a bit sore in the shoulder and won’t risk him until he is right to go,” Henry said of Taylor.
Former Bronco Cameron Cullen is on standby for Taylor.
The trial will also provide a golden chance for Nathan Davis and Brian Kelly to press NRL claims after being named in the Titans centres ahead of Josh Hoffman and Nene Macdonald (both knee).
But the night looks set to belong to Burgess in his first game since the 2014 grand final following a season away playing rugby in England.
Even Henry seemed excited.
“I don’t think he will be any different to how he is normally,” he said.
“He charges onto the ball, has a good work rate and is a good leader for them.
“I think Madge (Maguire) might get him and blow him out for a bit then wrap him up in cotton wool – who knows?
“But it will be a good test to contain their powerful pack.
“I think that is an area we have strengthened – our forwards – and they will need to be up to the challenge.”
Meanwhile Greg Bird, who is being rested from the trial after sustaining a head knock in the All Stars game, has been linked with a move to the Roosters.
Bird was thought to be unimpressed about getting overlooked for the captaincy in 2016 and the Seven Network reported that the 2013 premiers were keen to make a move on him despite the star forward’s contract with the Titans until 2017.