Parramatta teenager Sean Russell grabbed a first-half hat-trick but the Eels will be counting the cost of a rib injury to the flyer after he was taken to hospital following their 32-28 NRL win over Gold Coast.
Russell sustained the injury when scoring his third try before a crowd of 18,211 at Commbank Stadium on Sunday, leaving coach Brad Arthur sweating over his wing depth.
With Blake Ferguson having left the club in the off-season and fellow wingers Maika Sivo and Haze Dunster out with long-term injuries, the Eels could be caught short on the flanks over the coming weeks.
“He (Russell) has gone to hospital with broken ribs,” Arthur said.
“He did a nice job finishing off some nice movements. Our NSW Cup boys played well yesterday.
“We’ll go back and find out what’s wrong with Sean. Where we are as a squad, I think the next bloke will just have to step up and do his job.”
Russell grabbed his first NRL treble in a chaotic opening half which saw the half-time score 26-24 to the Eels.
Parramatta’s Shaun Lane and Waqa Blake also touched down for the home side while a Brian Kelly double, a Phillip Sami try and a barge over try from Erin Clark what the Titans offered in response.
Sami added his second try after the break but from there the flow of the game changed with less fluidity for either side in attack.
Mitchell Moses made no mistake with the boot, kicking three penalties in the last 15 minutes to wrap up victory for the Eels.
Gold Coast’s 21-year-old halfback Toby Sexton was impressive, setting up two tries after five-eighth AJ Brimson had been ruled out with groin soreness prior to kick-off.
Sexton was partnered with Will Smith in the halves and did admirably in just his fifth NRL game after the Titans’ pre-season plans had been interrupted by the flooding in southeast Queensland.
“I thought he was great,” Titans coach Justin Holbrook said.
“It was hard in the fact we spent all pre-season with AJ in the halves and then unfortunately AJ just couldn’t get right for this game.
“That made it a lot harder for Toby. Will was outstanding and was one of our best.
“I’d say he (Brimson) would be back next week. It was too big a risk to risk him not being right today and letting it snowball into next week.”
Holbrook bemoaned the officiating on three separate captain’s challenges which allowed Parramatta to sneak ahead.