Dropped to an extended bench after a flu-jab saga, Gold Coast's Brian Kelly is unexpectedly in the mix to play in Friday night's NRL clash with North Queensland due to an injury scare.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook says Kelly and Jonus Pearson are candidates to replace winger Anthony Don, who is unlikely to play after suffering a knee injury at training this week.
A Titans spokesman said they did not expect to make a final decision on their 17 until Friday when they fly to Townsville.
"He's still struggling. Donny looks like being unlikely unless he does something fantastic today," Holbrook said of Don.
"He is pretty sore with his knee. If he doesn't play he should miss just one game."
Holbrook initially said Kelly and fellow Titan Bryce Cartwright were "unlikely" to be promoted from an extended bench against the Cowboys after missing training during the well documented flu-jab standoff.
Kelly and Cartwright initially refused to receive a mandatory vaccination under strict NRL coronavirus protocols.
The 24-year-old Kelly eventually agreed to get a jab, while Cartwright earned a reprieve after receiving a belated medical exemption.
"They are probably unlikely (to play against Cowboys) just due to missing training," Holbrook said of the duo.
"They have to get up to speed to give themselves every chance to make the side."
But Holbrook later nominated Kelly as a potential replacement if Don was ruled out.
"Jonus Pearson is a good chance (of replacing Don) and Brian Kelly is on our extended bench but we will wait until we know Donny is definitely out and work it out," he said.
Holbrook said the flu-jab saga had not been a distraction, as the Titans look to end a woeful 13-game losing streak.
"We were just so happy to be back at training and back at work," he said. "Externally it was a big issue but internally it wasn't."
The Titans' woeful 13-game losing streak also does not concern Holbrook.
The former St Helens premiership winner has had a less than ideal 0-2 start to his debut year as Titans mentor.
Gold Coast last tasted victory back on June 9 with a round 13 win over Brisbane.
"In the first two rounds we were poor," Holbrook said.
"(But) I am not looking at the long history of last year to be honest. I don't think it (losing streak) plays a big part internally."
Australian Associated Press