Titans receive timely boost
GOLD Coast's cavalry is returning with hooker Mitch Rein to be recalled for this Sunday's clash against Souths and star halfback Ash Taylor poised for action in a huge boost for the embattled Titans.
Rein will make his first appearance of the season against the Rabbitohs as coach Garth Brennan looks for his Titans hooking alliance, including Nathan Peats, to counter Souths' Test rake Damien Cook at ANZ Stadium.
Rein, who was overlooked for the opening fortnight of the NRL following an injury-marred pre-season, was originally named 18th man, but he will start off the bench against Wayne Bennett's Rabbitohs.
In a further boost for the winless Titans, star playmaker Taylor (quadriceps) is set to get the green light for Friday week's clash against the Warriors in Auckland.
Queensland Origin hopeful Taylor hasn't been seen in the Titans' No.7 jumper this season after injuring his quad on the eve of a round-one loss to Canberra that saw halves cohort Tyrone Roberts hobble off after just 12 minutes.
There were fears Gold Coast's first-choice halves could miss up to a month, but Taylor trained so strongly on Thursday that Brennan was tempted to pick him to help the Titans avert a third straight loss to Souths.
"We've got some good news with Ash, he's on track for the Warriors game," Brennan said.
"Ash trained really well today. I am anticipating he will have another run on Saturday and if he gets through that session he will make the trip to New Zealand (in round four).
"Watching him out there, I reckon he would be OK for this weekend, but the doctor wants to be cautious and it is a long year. We don't want to lose Ash for another four or six weeks.
"Ash is champing at the bit, I'm confident he will play against the Warriors."
Brennan is equally optimistic about Roberts making a swift return to bolster his scrumbase, most likely for the Titans' round-five home clash against Penrith.
"Tyrone is one or two sessions behind Ash," he said. "He is another one who will go close for the Warriors game, but I'd say he will be ready the week after.
"Tyrone ran today with no pain. He hasn't done the work to be cleared for this weekend but he's only a few sessions behind Ash."
One certainty is that Rein, who has battled back and foot injuries, will launch his 2019 campaign. The livewire hooker was outstanding off the bench last season and Brennan is banking on his attacking thrust to give the Titans some creative punch around the rucks against Souths.
Brennan will decide whether to relegate utility Phillip Sami or prop Mo Fotuaika from his bench to accommodate Rein in his 17-man squad.