NRL 2019: Rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita stakes claim for Warriors five-eighth spot

Another Warriors rookie put his hand up for the five-eighth vacancy, with Chanel Harris-Tavita making a good first of his NRL first-grade debut against the Gold Coast Titans.

The youngster, who turned 20 just two days ago, looked at ease throughout, despite the pressure on his team to secure a win to halt their shaky early-season form.

The 26-10 scoreline will give them some comfort, after scoring just 18 points combined in their previous two outings, and the promising performance of their new number six may mean they've finally found a replacement for the departed Shaun Johnson.

Although, they probably thought that after Adam Keighran's debut less than a month ago…

Keighran was the most obvious head to roll after last week's 46-12 capitulation to Manly Sea Eagles and his replacement made the most of his opportunity.

Harris-Tavita made few glaring mistakes, showed confidence in running the ball, set up Tohu Harris for the game's final try and slotted five-of-six goal attempts, his only miss coming from hard against the sideline.

"He was awesome," assessed captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck afterwards. "The kid came out and did what he needed to do and [almost] got a try there - happy for him on his debut."

The Warriors needed 11 minutes to open their account at Mt Smart Stadium, with Peta Hiku latching onto a long pass from Blake Green and finding a seam through the left defence to score.

Gold Coast defending staunchly until just before halftime, but their hands let them down, with dropped ball gifting their opponents ample possession.

The pressure finally told a couple of minutes before the break, when David Fusitu'a dived over in the corner - remarkably, his first try of the season.

Tuivasa-Sheck lacked opportunities in the opening half, with the Titans kicking the ball away from last season's Dally M Medal winner, but he was on hand 10 minutes after the resumption to extend the lead.

Halfback Blake Green ran to the defensive line and found his fullback steaming up in support. Taking the ball at top speed, Tuivasa-Sheck left counterpark Michael Gordon groping at air to score.

Trailling 20-0, Gold Coast mounted a comeback with consecutive tries to wings Dale Copley and Anthony Don within four minutes. The Warriors needed to score next to make the win safe and they responded appropriately.

Near the goal-line, Harris-Tavita dummied and found Tohu Harris with a couple of tacklers to beat. The rangy second-rower hit and spun, and plunged over with seven minutes remaining.   

"The boys just had to regroup," reflected Tuivasa-Sheck afterwards. "It was a tough two weeks, losing those big games, but this one was important to get some respect back.

"The middles stuck to it. We conceded two tries, which isn't us, but we fought back."

The Warriors now face the unbeaten South Sydney Rabbitohs on the road next week, hoping to build on their latest result.