Bird, Harrison cleared for Titans

NZ Newswire August 18, 2012, 10:45 pm

Technically the Gold Coast must win their last three regular season games to be a chance of contesting the NRL finals, but Titans centre Jamal Idris reckons finals footy has already arrived.

Idris kept Titans coach John Cartwright honest when he left training on Saturday with back tightness, only to be cleared along with teammates Greg Bird (rib), Ash Harrison (hip/glutes) and William Zillman (sternum) ahead of Sunday's clash with Parramatta.

But it seemed Idris was going to play no matter what as the Titans prepared for a last gasp finals tilt without their inspirational prop Luke Bailey (Achilles).

"It's like our semis now. Everybody is doing their best to get out on the field," Idris said.

"All we can do at the moment is keep winning and see what happens."

On paper the Titans (11th; 9-12 record) should be confident of kick-starting their finals chase with a home win against dead last Parramatta.

But the Eels are suddenly one of the NRL's form teams, winning three of their past four games in a bid to avoid the wooden spoon in the final season for skipper Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt.

At least the Titans will be able to return fire with Bird, Harrison and Zillman on deck after they were left reeling by season-ending surgery to Bailey during the week.

The Gold Coast have won just 12 of 34 games without Bailey.

But Cartwright sounded upbeat ahead of their crunch clash.

"They did fitness tests then and they got through it okay so they'll take their place," Cartwright said of his injury concerns.

"We've got a nine day turnaround so we have no excuses there. We are fresh and coming good at the right time."

If the Titans overcome the re-born Eels, they still have Penrith and defending champions Manly to beat to be any chance of a top eight finish.

But Prince did not want to think too far ahead: "Obviously it's a must win, it's do or die. It's a danger game for sure for us - Parramatta have been playing outstanding, carefree footy," he said of the Eels who have wracked up a whopping 118 points in their past four games.

The Titans will also be keen for a bit of revenge as the last time they met Parramatta won 32-12 in the 2011 regular season finale, ensuring Gold Coast clinched the wooden spoon.

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