Tuivasa-Sheck tears up Titans
RUGBY LEAGUE: It was supposed to be the unveiling of the dynamic new Gold Coast Titans playmaking partnership that would lead the club into a golden era.
But Warriors jet Roger Tuivasa-Sheck stole the show in a stunning display in Palmerston North to prove he will back with a bang in 2017.
Regarded as one of the most exciting young halves pairings in the NRL, Kane Elgey and Ashley Taylor had their first run together in Titans colours in the club's final pre-season trial on Sunday.
And while Gold Coast fans have the right to remain optimistic, the duo showed they are far from a complete project as the Titans stumbled to a 26-6 loss.
Elgey and Taylor showed flashes of the brilliance that has them predicted to produce big things for the Titans, but just how long it takes for them to fire us a partnership remains coach Neil Henry's biggest unknown.
To complicate things, the Titans are now facing a raft of injury concerns less than a fortnight out from the start of the NRL season.
Hookers Nathan Peats (shoulder) and Pat Politoni (possible broken arm) were injured in New Zealand along with lock Ryan Simpkins (ribs), who lasted just three minutes.
With round one certainties Jarryd Hayne, Kevin Proctor, Konrad Hurrell and Dan Sarginson battling knee injuries, it has been far from an ideal preparation for the Titans.
The Titans showed some encouraging instinctual signs, but their structured plays and defence were poor for most of the game.
Newly crowned captain Tuivasa-Sheck was sensational in his second game back from a knee reconstruction, tearing the Titans to shreds.
He threw the last pass for Isaiah Papalii, Tuimoala Lolohea and David Fusitua's tries as the Warriors controlled the game.
The Titans' attack was mostly muddled and their only try came through Taylor producing a clever grubber for John Olive when little was happening.
James Gavet and Simon Mannering rubbed salt into the Gold Coast's wounds, giving the Titans plenty to think about before they open their season against the resurgent Roosters on March 4.