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GOLD COAST TITANS 40 CRONULLA SHARKS 16 TRENT Barrett's comeback to the NRL began with a rude awakening after Cronulla were last night thrashed by a classy Gold Coast outfit. In his first match in Australia for two years, the former Dragons star received a raucous cheer when he emerged from the tunnel in his new colours. However, Barrett's much anticipated return failed to reach any great heights, playing just two 20-minute quarters and only offering fans a glimpse of his class. The Sharks will need time for the new halves pairing of Barrett and rookie halfback Blake Green to take shape. The Titans were in total contrast, clinical and dominant. Scott Prince was outstanding in his first match since last year's World Cup. The Sharks suffered a further blow with rising star Jason Bukuya carried from the field in the 60th minute with a serious ankle injury. Related Links Â Â * Broncos v Canberra: Hunt hurt in clash John Cartwright's focus on adding size across his squad was evident as the Gold Coast skipped out to a 12-0 lead, with tries to Luke O'Dwyer and Mark Minichiello. The fact that three of their first four tries were scored by forwards gave locals an insight into the Titans' intentions this season. Following a simple game plan, the Titans bustled Cronulla before their speed men capitalised. A 32nd-minute try by talented winger Esi Tonga brought the locals to their feet. Corey Hughes was outstanding in his debut for the Sharks. Fulltime GOLD COAST 40 (S Tagataese L O'Dwyer M Minichiello B Delaney I Donnelly E Tonga J Graham tries S Prince 6 goals) bt CRONULLA 16 (K Snowdon C Hughes D Simmons tries M Brown 2 goals) at Richardson Park, Darwin. Crowd: Approx 9,173.
BRISBANE BORNCOS 30 CANBERRA RAIDERS 16 BRONCOS fullback Karmichael Hunt is in doubt for the premiership opener against North Queensland after being injured last night in a trial defeat of Canberra at Redcliffe. Star recruit Israel Folau capped his Broncos debut with a try, but the hoopla surrounding the 19-year-old was overshadowed by Hunt tearing an abdominal muscle. Hunt's first outing of the new year lasted just four minutes, sustaining the injury as Raiders defenders rushed to hold him up over the line. He will have scans tomorrow and depending on the severity of the tear could miss the start of the season on March 13. It's a setback the Broncos can do without, but coach Ivan Henjak said the performances of rookie trio Gerard Beale, Antonio Winterstein and Jharal Yow Yeh last night gave him an array of options if Hunt is sidelined. "We'll know a bit more on Monday,'' Henjak said. "We'll get him (Hunt) scanned, but at this stage he's got an abdominal tear and hopefully he will be right for the start of the year. But we're looking at maybe two or three weeks. "It's not long-term, so we can cover that. It would be nice to have him for the start of the season, but if not we'll come up with someone who can do the job for us. The young kids went pretty good tonight. Jharal, Antonio and Gerard Beale were good at times, (so) they are all options for us.'' Hunt's plight aside, it was a positive night for the Broncos, who overcame an early 12-0 deficit to put the cleaners through the Green Machine. Halfback Peter Wallace set up two tries with kicks and Folau showed nice touches, capping a solid debut with his maiden try in Broncos colours in the 60th minute. But it was the pack that had Henjak beaming. Back-row imports Lagi Setu and Ben Te'o were a handful, lock Corey Parker produced some bone-jarring defence and prop Nick Kenny staked a claim for a starting berth. "I was impressed with Nick Kenny, he played some good minutes and that was a pleasing sign for a guy who has put on a fair bit of weight in the pre-season,'' Henjak said. Fulltime BRISBANE 30 (A Winterstein, D Taylor, A Gorrell, B Te'o, I Folau, J Yow Yeh tries; C Parker 2, Gorrell goals) CANBERRA 16 (D Milne, D Tilse, J McCrone tries; T Campese 2 goals). Crowd: 10,500. Referees: S Lyons, M Cecchin.
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