Tonga injured but spirits high at Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tonga injured but spirits high at Titans

24/08/2009 07:46:25 PM Comments (0)

Not even the possibility of losing centre Esi Tonga for the rest of the NRL season could wipe the smile off Titans' faces.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright obviously felt for the youngster after ruling him out for at least a month with a dislocated shoulder suffered in their 20-10 win over the Sharks - a result that secured a home NRL final.

But the poker-faced mentor couldn't help but break into a rare smirk when his thoughts inevitably turned to their looming maiden playoff campaign.

And barely 24 hours after talking up their minor premiership claims, the usually low-key Cartwright surprisingly hinted at their prospects of going all the way.

"Of all the reasons why a side can go all the way I am really happy with that balance of age and experience that we have," he told reporters on the Gold Coast on Monday.

But perhaps the biggest grin belonged to veteran Preston Campbell.

The wily playmaker made his first grade debut on the tourist strip in 1998 in the bad old days of the Gold Coast Chargers.

Eleven years later, Campbell - the Titans' inaugural player signing - was hoping to create some happier memories.

"Personally I feel very, very proud that we'll make the semis," Campbell said.

"I'm the last player (still in the NRL) that played for the last Gold Coast team up here and I feel really honoured to be able to make the semis."

Despite making history with the Titans, Campbell said there was still plenty of unfinished business.

"I won a premiership with Penrith (in 2003) and there's a different feeling here at the moment," he said.

"Whether it's better or not I don't know, but with Penrith when we made the grand final we were just happy to be there.

"Here, it's a different feeling.

"Even though we have made the semis, and got a home semi, we don't feel satisfied - that is probably the best way to explain it."

However, Tonga did not feel like breaking into a smile as he sweated on scan results on his shoulder.

Even if the worst case scenario is confirmed and Tonga requires surgery, the Titans have the luxury of welcoming back Chris Walker (quad) and Josh Graham (hamstring) as cover at centre against Wests Tigers on Saturday.

"He's dislocated his shoulder so he'll be out for a minimum of three to four weeks I'd imagine, depending on what the scans show," Cartwright said.

However, Queensland Origin rep Ashley Harrison (ribs) is only a 50-50 chance of running out against Wests Tigers at Skilled Park.

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