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.
“He’s still struggling. Donny looks like being unlikely unless he does something fantastic today,” Holbrook said ahead of the Titans captain’s run on Thursday.
“He is pretty sore with his knee. If he doesn’t play he should miss just one game.”
Holbrook initially said that Kelly and fellow Titan Bryce Cartwright were “unlikely” to be promoted from an extended bench against the Cowboys after missing training during a 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 (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 has 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.”