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Titans facing backrow crisis

27/07/2009 08:26:12 PM Comments (0)

A dangerous throw charge against Anthony Laffranchi has left Gold Coast facing the prospect of being without their entire starting backrow against North Queensland on Friday night.

With Ashley Harrison (ribs) and Mark Minichiello (knee) already in extreme doubt to face the Cowboys, the grade one charge against Test forward Laffranchi was the last thing coach John Cartwright would have wanted.

Laffranchi is facing a one week ban for his fifth minute hit on Brisbane five-eighth Aaron Gorrell, Titans officials likely to cop the suspension rather than risk a two-week ban by fighting the charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Harrison, who injured the ribs on the opposite side to the ones that were battered in Origin III, looks likely to spend Friday night on the sidelines with Cartwright all but ruling out the Queensland forward for their Skilled Park clash.

Cartwright said Minichiello was also unlikely to start against the Cowboys and said his chronic knee injury would present a constant problem for the side going into the finals.

"Harrison is in grave doubt, I don't think he'll play," the Titans coach said on Monday.

"Mini's probably 50-50 at this stage. It is becoming a little bit chronic, it was another knock on the same spot. It is something we'll have to manage as we get towards the end of the competition."

Meanwhile, there was good and bad news for Melbourne with prop Jeff Lima escaping a charge after being reported for a `crusher' tackle in Saturday's NRL win over Cronulla.

But Lima's front row teammate Adam Blair is facing a one-match ban after being charged with a grade one dangerous throw.

Blair will miss one match with an early guilty plea or with an unsuccessful trip to the judiciary.

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