Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
A nasty head gash is not expected to stop Titans backrower Anthony Laffranchi from running out against Canberra in their NRL clash at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
And Josh Graham was on Tuesday cleared to play for the Titans despite claiming Sharks captain Paul Gallen had grabbed his testicles in their controversial last round game against Cronulla.
Laffranchi suffered an horrific cut across his right eye in a head clash with Gallen in the Gold Coast's last round win over Cronulla at Skilled Park.
He later emerged with his head heavily bandaged, only to be forced off the field for good in the 68th minute after temporary stitches were re-opened by a Gallen facial.
Gallen has copped a three-week ban for raking the face of Laffranchi after pleading guilty to the contrary conduct charge on Tuesday.
But the NRL match review committee said Gallen did not have to answer claims that he grabbed Graham's testicles due to lack of evidence.
Graham said Gallen grabbed his "wheels" in a 41st minute tackle.
Titans coach John Cartwright on Tuesday said Laffranchi and Graham had "bumps and bruises" but would be fit to play against the Raiders.
Cartwright named a 20-man squad with injury concerns surrounding prop Michael Hodgson - who missed the last round game with a foot injury - and co-captain Scott Prince (corked thigh).
Cartwright said Prince would play but admitted Hodgson still had to be assessed.
The Titans mentor was pleased with how his halves pairing of Prince and Mat Rogers had begun the season.
"They are getting better each week. I thought their kicking game was much improved on the weekend," he said.
"We didn't play all that well (against Cronulla) but our kicking game and defence got us home.
"If we work on a few things in attack, that will be our main focus this week."
The Raiders will play their first game since coach Neil Henry successfully received a release for 2009, opening the door for him to join the Cowboys.
But Cartwright did not want to be drawn on the Raiders' plight.
"We will be playing to our strengths, we won't be worrying about them, just our own preparation," he said.
Titans: Preston Campbell, Ben Jeffery, Luke O'Dwyer, Brett Delaney, Jordan Atkins, Mat Rogers, Scott Prince (capt), Luke Bailey (capt), Nathan Friend, Michael Hodgson, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Aaron Cannings, Brad Meyers, Josh Graham, Clint Amos, James Stosic, Gavin Cooper, Daniel Conn.