While coach Garth Brennan has been preaching that he wants the Titans to be a development club, he says he is still in the market for top-line recruits to join Shannon Boyd and Tyrone Peachey in 2019.
Brennan claims “representative players” have been contacting the club declaring they want to come on board, yet the club will be selective in its recruitment.
Boyd’s arrival next season on a four-year deal, joining Jarrod Wallace, Jai Arrow and Ryan James on long-term contracts, means this year’s signing Leilani Latu and young props Max King, Morgan Boyle and two-game sensation Moeaki Fotuaika may have limited opportunity.
However, Brennan claims the highly-paid big men will help and not hinder the progress of the youngsters, suggesting there will be more top-liners to come.
“People want to come to this club,” Brennan said.
“There are others there, I can’t disclose who, but players who are contacting me or contacting the club saying ‘I really want to come to the Gold Coast’ and these are representative players.
“That’s why we are being selective, we haven’t gone out and bought anyone this year [despite having three spots left in the top 30]. We have two so far in Boyd and Peachey who are both quality players playing good football at their clubs.
“I don’t think it stops their progress [of the existing young front-rowers], if anything it helps them.
“I’ve come through clubs where you develop young players and it’s hard to throw young guys onto sides that are getting dominated and beaten. You have to have a good support network around them.
“You need to bring young players into sides that have experienced and hard heads around them to help them to develop off-field and how to prepare for a game. It’s not blocking their pathway.
“I want to be a development club and I want young guys of the Gold Coast like Mo [Fotuaiki] and AJ [Alexander Brimson] and more in our systems to come through.
“It will take time to come through systems, to come through to the NRL. We need experienced players around educating them.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand international Kevin Proctor has succumbed to a groin injury and will miss the clash with Newcastle at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.
Bryce Cartwright gets a reprieve, but club officials would not say whether he will start on the bench or be thrust into Proctor’s starting spot on the right edge.
The alternative is Ryan James will switch from the front row to the left edge, back-rower Keegan Hipgrave will swap to the right in his first run-on appearance and Max King will start at prop.