Tag Archive: Mark Minichiello


Laffranchi gives injury an extra week

Mended Titan Anthony Laffranchi has the Broncos in his sights after admitting another week on the sidelines would ensure they were no setbacks yesterday. Confident he could get through this weekend’s match-up with Melbourne, Laffranchi, who suffered a setback in his comeback from off-season shoulder and wrist reconstructions when he tweaked a hamstring, said with only five days before the meeting with Brisbane the risk was not worth taking. “I’m definitely fit and if I had my choice I would like to get on the plane for Melbourne,” Laffranchi said. “I’m back to full training this week but as they say with a hamstring ‘if it feels good give it that extra week’.” “Coming off the back of Melbourne and the short turnaround if I can get the kilometres up this week and get back running with the team (next) Monday I should be right to get stuck into Brisbane.” Faced with the toughest road trip in the league when they meet the Melbourne Storm in the Victorian capital on Saturday night, the Titans will name the same squad who went down to world champions St George Illawarra last weekend. The only change could come with the return of 18th man Mark Minichiello, who is expected to travel south and force his way into the 17-man lineup after getting another week of rest last weekend. Continue reading

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Cartwright issues challenge to Bodene Thompson

John Cartwright has backed Bodene Thompson to become a regular starter in the Titans pack after declaring the position was “his to lose” ahead of tonight’s season opener against premiers St George Illawarra. Thompson will pack down alongside Greg Bird and Ashley Harrison in the backrow tonight and Cartwright was yesterday confident the emerging Kiwi talent would become a key component in their make-up this season. A graduate of the Titans’ Toyota Cup system, Thompson became a key contributor with 17 appearances last season but the coach expects more from the 22-year-old after an impressive off-season and trial form. “(Bodene’s) one of those young fellows who has been in our system since he was 16 or 17,” Cartwright said. “He’s been very fortunate that he has such a good-quality group around to learn from (but) it’s going to take a lot to shift him from the starting spot. “He was pushing all last year and he has an opportunity now and it’s up to him to hold it.” Continue reading

Capewell gets 6 for Titans

The form of budding pivot Luke Capewell has relieved one of Gold Coast coach John Cartwright’s biggest headaches ahead of their NRL season opener. But the Titans mentor admitted he would be wrestling with another major decision right up to Saturday night’s kick-off against the Dragons. Ex-South Sydney player Capewell gave Cartwright no choice but to slot the 21-year-old into the vacancy created by Mat Rogers’ retirement. It ensured Cartwright didn’t lose too much sleep over who to replace the dual international, with veteran Preston Campbell and Greg Bird also being in the initial mix. “He had a really good off-season, he didn’t miss any time – I thought he was the most impressive in the No.6 jersey of the guys competing for that position in the trials,” Cartwright said. Continue reading

Bodene Thompson tipped for a big year

A young Titan has been anointed by the King. Gold Coast forward Bodene Thompson has been tipped for a huge NRL future by no less a judge than Wally Lewis. The league great believes Thompson, 23, who played for New Zealand Maori at the end of last season, is one to watch and could emerge as a superstar. The product of the famed Keebra Park High league nursery has played only 20 NRL games but Lewis has already marked him as a star of the future. “He’s got some skills and I like that he’s got a bit of s–t in him,” he said. “He doesn’t mind the aggressive style of play and that speaks volumes for the kid’s future. I think he has got enormous potential.” With veteran back-rowers Anthony Laffranchi and Mark Minichiello expected to miss the opening weeks of the season, there is a chance for Thompson to lock down a starting berth. Continue reading

Capewell and Rankin making moves

Greg Bird is set to be packed off to the Gold Coast Titans engine room, leaving two fresh-faced upstarts in a hot battle for the Titans’ No.6 jumper.This is the upshot of the Titans’ impressive trial in Coffs Harbour on Saturday night, when talented pivot prospects Luke Capewell and Jordan Rankin played cameo halves roles in the 42-4 slaughter of South Sydney. The pair are set to be face another acid test against North Queensland Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston in Cairns on Saturday night. If they again pass with shining colours, the Titans’ safe option of shuffling Bird into the No.6 jumper vacated by dual international Mat Rogers could be shelved before the NRL’s opening round to help to cover a long list of injured backrowers. “I want to have a good go this year,” Capewell said. “I’ve got my goals set, and six is where I want to be. Hopefully I can cement a spot there. Continue reading

Laffranchi could switch to the front

Gold Coast star Anthony Laffranchi admits he’d rather stay at second row, but says he’s prepared to move to prop if it means accommodating Greg Bird in the NRL club’s starting side. The Test and NSW State of Origin representative is one of the game’s best back-rowers, however Laffranchi was moved up front for the Wests Tigers under similar circumstances in the 2005 grand final. Coach John Cartwright, whose finals-bound Titans face the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium on Monday night, faces a selection headache over how to combine his strongest side. Bird is expected to make his return from a hamstring injury against the Roosters, and named on the bench. Before his month-long layout Bird was playing five-eighth, but the superb form of Mat Rogers in his absence has almost guaranteed the retiring veteran won’t be moved out of the halves. This could see for the former Cronulla star to move to lock where he starred for NSW in the third Origin match. Continue reading