Season-ending injury to star centre a blow to Queensland side’s chances.
Gold Coast centre Jamal Idris has been ruled out of action until round 25 with a broken leg in what will put a dint not just in his side’s chances this weekend but moving into their likely finals appearance.
While his return date is set to be in the penultimate week of the regular season, Idris will not be back to the same fitness or form that he has shown much of this season.
As a result of the injury, Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has called in Jahrome Hughes and Hymel Hunt for William Zillman (groin, round 19) and Idris.
Luke O’Dwyer has been called in at starting centre, with Anthony Don dropped to an extended bench after producing what was probably the worst NRL performance seen in some years in his side’s 30-point loss to the Newcastle Knights.
In more positive news, Nate Myles returns after being rested last week in a move that backfired as the Newcastle side ran out to a 30-point lead at half time.
For the first time in a long time the Panthers name an unchanged side as they look to build on their impressive 25-10 win over the Dragons last round.
Penrith continues to confound critics as to what they are capable of as they swing from.
Think their two-point win over the Storm in Melbourne, their 56-point thrashing of New Zealand in round 10.
And if you put those wins up against losses like their 30-0 defeat at the hands of North Queensland and you see why coach Ivan Cleary has aged 20 years this season.
Matt Moylan again has been named despite him being the centre of the focus regarding the secondary tier salary cap.
Expect Brad Tighe to be dropped when Josh Mansour (fractured eye socket, round 20) returns, with James Roberts to retain his spot.
Tip: Gold Coast Titans by 8
GOLD COAST TITANS v PENRITH PANTHERS at TIO Stadium Darwin
TITANS: Jahrome Hughes, Kevin Gordon, Luke O’Dwyer, Hymel Hunt, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Mark Ioane, Luke Douglas, Ryan James, Sam Irwin, Ben Ridge, Anthony Don (two to be omitted).
Ins: Jahrome Hughes, Luke O’Dwyer, Hymel Hunt, Nate Myles
Outs: William Zillman (groin, round 19), Jamal Idris (broken leg, round 25)
Others unavailable: Brad Takairangi (ribs, round 19), Beau Falloon (broken leg, indefinite), Matt White (knee, season)
PANTHERS: Matt Moylan, James Roberts, Brad Tighe, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Nigel Plum, Kevin Kingston (capt), Tim Grant, Matt Robinson, Lewis Brown, Ryan Simpkins. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Cameron Ciraldo, Mose Masoe, Clint Newton.
Others unavailable: Josh Mansour (fractured eye socket, round 20), Sika Manu (thumb, round 22), Travis Robinson (salary cap drama), Kyle O’Donnell (knee, round 20), Tom Humble (ankle, season), Lachlan Coote (pectoral, season), Blake Austin (foot, indefinite), Sam McKendry (neck, indefinite), Tom Eisenhuth (ankle, indefinite), Ethan Cook (ACL, season)
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