A serious knee injury to impact forward Sione Lousi soured Matt Elliott's first game in charge of the Warriors on Saturday night.
Elliott's youthful Warriors outfit fell 42-24 to the more experienced Gold Coast at Pizzey Park but the former Penrith and Canberra coach finished the night more concerned by Lousi's worrying injury.
The giant 23-year-old was carried off the field in the 52nd minute in pain after he came away badly from a hit-up near the Titans' line.
Lousi punched the turf in disgust after failing to get back to his feet and then writhed in agony when club medics treated his right knee on the sideline to show he's no chance to start the NRL season.
His brother Sam also finished the night with some worries as he was placed on report for a high tackle in the second half.
The incident came just as the largely unheralded visitors, down 24-6 at the time, started a third-quarter rally.
The Kiwis charged back to 24-16 down but failed to carry on as they were made to pay for a string of errors as the Titans ran away to 42-24 before clocking off.
Titans coach John Cartwright's halfback selection dilemma wasn't made any easier despite the comfortable seven-tries-to-five win.
Jordan Rankin and Beau Henry started in the halves, while former Cronulla playmaker Albert Kelly came off the bench, as all showed good touches in their contest to take former captain Scott Prince's No.7 jersey.
Rankin, seemingly the underdog for the role, certainly put his hand up and finished the night with a darting late try, as well as three from three with the boot.
Henry also kicked truly - potting all four shots - while injury-plagued winger Anthony Don caught the eye with a two-try display which has him well in line to start the NRL season at Shark Park on March 10.
Despite their lack of front-liners, the Warriors struck first with hooker Alehana Mara scooting from dummy-half 30m out to put five-eighth Pita Godinet over after just 75 seconds.
But the Titans quickly stiffened their defence and hit back through a long-range try to Don who showed pace and a great swerve after fine lead-up work by Matt Srama and Mark Minichiello.
Gold Coast then controlled the rest of the first half to lead 18-6 at the main break.