Hodgepodge Titans ready for Roosters challenge
TITANS coach Neil Henry has called on fans to be patient with his new-look side ahead of Saturday night's NRL season-opener against the Roosters.
As well as running out for the first time under new co-captains Ryan James and Kevin Proctor, the Gold Coast will also field a new halves pairing of Kane Elgey, who makes his long-awaited return from an ACL injury, and boom rookie Ash Taylor at CBus Super Stadium.
"Anything at the start of the season's about consistency and not making too many errors," Henry said.
"I think it's obvious all the combinations are not going to be there with our attack and maybe our defensive structure's going to be tested, but the key is (if) we're controlling our possession.
"It's easy to say but hard to do sometimes. That's early-season footy, it's going to take a while to settle in.
"We can't afford to turn over the ball against a big, powerful team like the Roosters."
The Trent Robinson-coached Roosters will go into the clash as favourites, despite finishing second-from-bottom last year.
"It's just on the back of who they've got, who they are and what their expectations are," Henry said.
"Our expectations (are) we need to back up last year and we need to improve our home record. This is the ultimate test."
Michael Gordon (from the Eels) and Luke Keary (Rabbitohs) will make their Roosterss debut at fullback and five-eighth, respectively.
Henry will at least have Proctor, centres Konrad Hurrell and Dan Sarginson and fullback Jarryd Hayne at his disposal.
All have been cleared to play after overcoming respective knee injuries that kept them out of the Titans' final pre-season trial last month.
Proctor is set to play his first game for the club after crossing from the Storm.
Nathan Peats (shoulder), Pat Politoni (arm) and Ryan Simpkins (ribs) remain sidelined, however, with Tyrone Roberts to play out of position at No.9.
It will be a daunting debut in the middle for Roberts, who has spent his entire career as a playmaker.
The Roosters will roll out star forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner and Dylan Napa, with Roberts expected to be a defensive target.
"He'll be fine," James said of Roberts.
"He's a natural ballplayer anyway. He knows how to shovel it to us.
"He only makes 20-odd tackles a game but he will go close to doubling that.
"He will have two front-rowers beside him. He's looking forward to the competition in the middle."
Back-row recruit Joe Greenwood, who only arrived from England earlier this week, is also in line to play up to half an hour off the bench for the Titans.