Kiwi youngster on standby for Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwi youngster on standby for Titans

By Laine Clark 05/05/2009 07:48:48 PM Comments (0)

A little known Kiwi youngster who only started playing rugby league five years ago is on standby for some of the NRL's biggest names after being named on an extended Gold Coast Titans bench on Tuesday.

Boom prop Bodene Thompson, 20, is in line for his NRL debut after being included on a six-man interchange for the Titans' daunting trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

He is only expected to get the nod from coach John Cartwright if members of the Titans' representative contingent fail to back up on the weekend.

Forward Luke Bailey and Anthony Laffranchi will run out for Australia against New Zealand at Brisbane on Friday night.

And backrower Mark Minichiello is on City-Country duty the same night at Orange, NSW.

As a precaution, Thompson and utility Josh Graham have been added to the 17 that downed South Sydney 22-14 last round.

If he is given the green light, it will cap a remarkable rise for Thompson.

He had not played the sport until he moved over from New Zealand and unwittingly ended up at famous Gold Coast rugby league nursery Keebra Park High, which has groomed the likes of Kiwi captain Benji Marshall.

At one stage he looked set to make his NRL debut in the opening round - also against Newcastle - after impressing in the pre-season trials.

Titans assistant Steve Murphy lamented the tough turnaround for their rep contingent.

"We would like the schedule changed to be truthful but these are the circumstances in which we play," he said on Titans website.

"(But) we won't be taking any chances with those guys (rep players).

"If they are carrying anything that might put them at risk long term they won't play on Sunday."

The Gold Coast reeled in an early 14-0 deficit to roll Newcastle at Skilled Park in the opening round but the Knights have gone on to become the "form team of the competition", according to Murphy.

"They are a big, physical side, they get up the field easily, they have a wonderful kicking game.

"They are a team you really have to grind away at."

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