THREE of the five Gold Coast Titans players facing drug charges have been cleared to play against Newcastle on Sunday, but their playing futures still hinge on the findings of the court.
Origin stars Greg Bird (pictured) and Dave Taylor, and last year's player of the year, Beau Falloon, have all been named in the starting side against the Knights, while Jamie Dowling and Kalifa Faifai Loa returned to training yesterday. All are booked to reappear in Southport Magistrates' Court on May 8 on cocaine-supply charges.
The five were cleared to play after the club's board sought legal advice from eminent Sydney silk Tony Bannon QC, who after taking into account police reports, player statements, NRL rules and evaluating legal obligations, recommended they be allowed to return to training and playing.
Cowboys coach Paul Green has named dangerous attacker Lachlan Coote to finally make his NRL debut for the club at fullback against Brisbane on Friday night.
The former Penrith fullback missed the entire 2014 season after rupturing his ACL in the Auckland Nines.
Green will move danger man Michael Morgan to five-eighth at the expense of Robert Lui, who is back in the Queensland Cup, setting up a clash with Brisbane's young gun Anthony Milford who has been struggling to find his dazzling form of 2014 with Canberra.
The arrival of Johnathan Thurston's second child, Charlie Grace, yesterday morning, was welcome good news following the club's second straight loss at the weekend.
Penrith welcomes back winger Josh Mansour for his first game of 2015, and have named Kiwi-born journeyman Isaac John to play five-eighth against the Roosters on Sunday. Reports suggest regular No.6 Jamie Soward may require back surgery, sidelining him for up to six weeks.