YOUNG GUNS KEY FOR TITANS
By Bob Anthony
THE Gold Coast Titans have placed their faith in a band of young guns as they prepare to make an immediate impact in the National Rugby League.
Determined to not just make up the numbers when they debut in season 2007, the Titans have compiled an impressive roster spearheaded by State of Origin representatives Scott Prince and Luke Bailey and experienced playmaker Preston Campbell.
But conscious of the woes that have beset Gold Coast teams in the past, Titans officials have made a conscious effort to surround their experienced talent with young players on the road to stardom.
Boom Melbourne centre Jake Webster, Parramatta goal-kicking centre Brett Delaney and South Sydney back-rower Mark Minichiello are among the young guns snapped up by the club.
"We are extremely pleased with the quality and depth in the squad but we are also looking towards developing a side which will be together for some time," Titans chief executive Michael Searle said of the squad which has an average age of just 23.
"Realistically, the players we have signed have more tomorrows than yesterdays in rugby league and the side will be a blend of enthusiasm based around some pretty experienced players."
Searle, who played with the now defunct Gold Coast Seagulls, said it was no secret that in the past Gold Coast was viewed by some players as a club at which to play out careers.
"We have been very conscious of recruiting players who shared a passion for the game and were looking to develop their own talents and skills," Searle said.
"The Titans are offering players an opportunity to make a name for themselves."
Searle met with Queensland Origin prop Nate Myles at the weekend but played down the club's chances of adding his name to the Titans roster.
The 21-year-old is being courted by several clubs including North Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney Roosters and Canberra.
"I think we're long shots, I really do. We can't compete with what some clubs are prepared to throw at him," Searle said.
While Myles appears an unlikely recruit, the Titans have secured 22 signatures and are fast closing in on their initial target of 25 key signings.
Coach John Cartwright, assistant Trevor Gillmeister and fitness guru Billy Johnston will now look to flesh out an elite squad of 35, drawing on the Queensland Cup and from within their own development squads.