Gold Coast will be without NSW State of Origin hooker Nathan Peats for up to six weeks with fractured ribs.
Peats’ slim chances of retaining his Blues jumper appear over with the injury, suffered in Sunday’s NRL loss to Penrith, set to sideline him for at least a month.
He was already struggling to hold onto his place with Cameron McInnes, Api Koroisau and Damien Cook putting forward strong cases.
But Titans coach Garth Brennan said on Tuesday he would leave it in the hands of Peats to decide when he was ready to return.
“Hopefully, we get him back earlier than that. It’s more a pain threshold thing now so Peatsy is a fairly fierce competitor,” Brennan told reporters.
“He felt like he let the team down coming off so early, especially being captain on the weekend, but he’ll get himself right and be back better than ever.”
The worst-case scenario is Peats won’t return before Brad Fittler selects his side for the June 6 Origin series opener.
Mitch Rein has been named to replace Peats in the No.9 jersey for the Titans’ trip to Townsville to battle a North Queensland team coming off five-straight defeats.
In a further blow for the Titans, centre Dale Copley will miss at least three weeks with a hamstring injury.
Phillip Sami has been named in the centres in place of Copley, while Tyronne Roberts-Davis gets his first start of the season after being selected in the No.5 jersey.
Forwards Morgan Boyle (concussion) and Jai Arrow (back) have been cleared after failing to see out the 35-12 defeat to the Panthers.