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Titans’ top scorer to take on kicking duties

KEVIN Gordon is already the Gold Coast's leading try-scorer this season, but today he begins his NRL goalkicking career against the high-flying Penrith Panthers at Cbus Stadium after a training shootout with teammate Brad Tighe yesterday.

Gordon (pictured), who has scored more than 50 tries for the club in just over 100 appearances, will take over the goalkicking duties as first-choice Aidan Sezer is still three months away from a comeback and second-choice Greg Bird, who will play, is carrying a slight foot injury.

Bird landed a high-pressure kick earlier this season when the Titans beat Melbourne in a thriller.

But coach John Cartwright has opted for Gordon to step up against the Panthers rather than ask Bird to take shots at goal with a bad foot.

Bird is returning from a two-match suspension after successfully having a dangerous throw charge on South Sydney winger Bryson Goodwin downgraded, clearing him to play for NSW in the second State of Origin game in Sydney on Wednesday week.

Cartwright has also surprised by naming Ben Ridge at lock ahead of the impressive Paul Carter.

Carter will come off the bench as an impact weapon against the in-form Panthers, who are riding a three-game winning streak.

Depending on other weekend results, Penrith could take over top spot on the premiership ladder halfway through the season.

For a club that has failed to crack the top 10 in the past three seasons, it is quite some turnaround.

The last time Penrith headed the ladder was in 2003, when they took out the minor premiership and beat the Sydney Roosters in the grand final.

After starting the season very strongly and leading the ladder the Titans have gone off the boil, dropping their past three games.

Injuries and suspensions to key players have not made life easy for the Titans, but another loss could push them even further back than 11th.