Gold Coast close to full-strength - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gold Coast close to full-strength

By Daniel Pace 20/05/2008 05:46:38 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast should boast a near full-strength squad against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday after electrifying fullback Preston Campbell passed a fitness test on his injured ankle on Tuesday.

Coach John Cartwright has named Campbell at fullback, with Brenton Bowen shifting back to the wing to replace Smith Samau, who hurt his knee in the Titans' 24-20 victory over the Bulldogs last Friday night.

"I did a bit of stepping and kicking today but that's about it," said Campbell, who missed the Bulldogs game at Skilled Park.

"I didn't want to push it too hard.

"I wasn't scared to do any stepping or kicking today so the confidence is there."

Only backs Chris Walker (ankle) and Jordan Atkins (knee) remain on the sideline for the competition leaders, who have won seven of their nine matches this year.

Dual international Mat Rogers returns from a four-week suspension to slot into five-eighth, pushing Queensland Origin's 18th man Ashley Harrison into the back-row.

Hard-working second-rower Anthony Laffranchi will back up, providing the NSW forward emerges unscathed from his Origin debut on Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium, while Mark Minichiello has been cleared of a broken hand.

Teenage prodigy Shannon Walker has missed out, despite playing the final 15 minutes against the Bulldogs in his NRL debut.

"You'll definitely see more of him. It's just a matter of when," said Campbell.

"He's been playing great in the under 20s comp. He's been scoring a try or two every game.

"Playing the Tigers at Leichhardt, you probably need a bit of experience."

Tigers coach Tim Sheens has relegated halfback John Morris to the bench and handed Mathew (Mathew) Head the No.7 jersey.

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