AJ Brimson is nearing a return.
AJ Brimson is nearing a return.

Brennan: Brimson is ‘not far away’

Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan is inching closer to injecting wunderkind AJ Brimson into his regular starting side as the Titans search for a breakthrough victory.

The Titans enter their Round 5 NRL home match against Penrith on Friday night with an unenviable 0-4 record, leading to calls for Brimson to be deployed at fullback ahead of reliable veteran Michael Gordon.

Brimson came off the bench in the club's 26-10 last start loss to the Warriors and would likely have done the same in the previous three matches if not for injuries to halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts as he himself builds up from a shoulder reconstruction.

The 20-year-old particularly made his mark in four games at fullback at the end of his 2018 rookie year but could return to the five-eighth role against the Panthers if Roberts cannot beat a case of achilles inflammation.

AJ Brimson at training. Picture: Adam Head
AJ Brimson at training. Picture: Adam Head

Roberts took part in the captain's run session at Cbus Super Stadium on Thursday morning; Brennan is confident he will be good to go but declared he won't risk further damage.

"I won't play him unless he is 100 per cent ready to go," Brennan said.

If Roberts gets the green light to play, it would mark the first time this year that the Titans have had the same playmaking spine in consecutive weeks.

"You take any halves or hooker out of any other team and they're going to find it tough," Brennan said.

Tyrone Roberts. Picture: Getty Images
Tyrone Roberts. Picture: Getty Images

"We're not using it as an excuse but it certainly contributes to our attack and our failure to score points, just that polish and continuity is just not there.

"But hopefully the more games they can play together, the more they can get their combinations happening and the boys around them can get their timing off that and we can start executing better than what we have.

"We haven't given up. It's only Round 5 and we're two wins out of the eight so it's a long season ahead of us and the boys are working really hard.

"We just need to jag that first win and I have no doubt we can then go on a bit of a run."

A fit Roberts would mean another week in the supersub role for Brimson - but expect that to change soon.

"He's not far away," Brennan said of Brimson.

"It was always my thing not to rush him. He has been hot and cold in some of those games and last week we started to see a little bit of the zip about AJ that he had last year.

"I know how good AJ is, I know how important he is to the football team but I don't want to rush him either.

"He is too important to that team to throw him in before he is ready."