It was meant to be a chance to test formations and see how his side would perform in his first match in charge, but instead, New Zealand Warriors coach Matt Elliott faces a nervous wait, with forward Sione Lousi suffering a potentially serious knee injury in his side’s trial loss to the Gold Coast Titans.
The New Zealand side was made up of primarily younger players, as a somewhat experienced Titans side won the game at Pizzey Park 42-24.
Lousi, 23, who has played 31 NRL games to date, went off in the second half and was in some agony, punching the turf in the process.
“The early call on it is a posterior cruciate … that’s not great but it’s not season-ending,” Elliott said.
“We’ll obviously determine it over the next couple of days.”
There will be two other nervous waits, however, as Sam Lousi – brother of Sione – was put on report for a high tackle, and Gold Coast Titans prop Matt White will undergo scans on his knee, after copping an early knock.
With his side performing well and getting the victory, Titans coach John Cartwright said that the decision as to who will start in the halfback position in Rd 1, was not made any easier.
With Jordan Rankin, Albert Kelly and Beau Henry all playing in the game, all three showed promise and played solidly, as Cartwright has more decisions still to make.
“I don’t think it made (the No.7 decision) any clearer to be honest with you,” Cartwright admitted.
“The three of them defensively were very strong, and that’s what we wanted out of them, and their kicking games were very good, and they threatened the line at varying stages.”
Despite the loss, Elliott was pleased with young lock Sebastine Ikahihifo, who played a part in the Warriors’ opening try.
“I can’t say I’m happy tonight but I’m not bitterly disappointed,” Elliott said.
“It’s only a trial and we exposed a lot of guys with very little NRL experience to another level so that’s a positive thing.”