FORMER Tweed Heads junior Kayne Lawton and experienced Burleigh Bears hooker Riley Brown have been included in an extended 18-man Titans squad for Sunday's clash against the New Zealand Warriors at Skilled Park.
With regular hooker Nathan Friend set to undergo minor shoulder surgery this week, which will rule him out for an indefinite period, Titans coach John Cartwright has selected Brown at hooker and Lawton on an extended five-man interchange bench.
Both have been in form playing for the Titans' Queensland Cup feeder clubs Burleigh Bears (Brown) and Tweed Heads Seagulls (Lawton).
Brown has plenty of NRL experience – 48 matches including four games this season – while Lawton has made two appearances in the Titans top grade.
“They're there because there's a spot available and they're the best men for the job so there's no time for auditions,'' quipped Cartwright.
“It's a big game for us this week and we want to go back-to-back wins.
“Riley hasn't had a lot of game time there (hooker) but he played the first three or four games in that position and we had a good win down at Canberra and were close on a few other occasions.
"He's been in good form for Burleigh and he deserves his chance.
“Young Lawton has been playing well at Seagulls and we've got to see what he can do at NRL level.”
Lawton has been named at No.18 and a start for him depends on how City Origin representative Mark Minichiello comes through Friday's encounter against Country in Albury.
“It's good to be back in the frame and if I do get an opportunity in first grade again, it'd be awesome.
"I'll just have to keep training hard and see what happens,” he said.
Cartwright said the final 17-man squad would not be decided until the team's final training session on Saturday.
The Titans have won six out of eight matches against the Warriors, including all four games played on home turf at Skilled Park.
They will be intent on extending that record when the referee calls ‘time on' at 2pm on Sunday.
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