CATHY ADAMS

Friend shrugs off favourite mantle

GOLD Coast Titans hooker Nathan Friend isn't convinced he deserves the favourite tag for his team's Player of the Year award.

Friend was the frontrunner for the Paul Broughton Medal before voting went behind closed doors after round 16 of NRL competition.

The medal will be presented at the Titans' awards ceremony tonight but Friend said he “wasn't keeping his fingers crossed”.

“Preston (Campbell) beat me last year and I think he has a good chance of doing it again this year,” Friend said.

Friend has had a turbulent season, which started with a messy contract battle with the club over his asking price and Gold Coast's attempts to lure Melbourne Storm rake Cameron Smith and Wests Tigers dummy-half Robbie Farah as his replacement for 2010.

His on-field form, however, forced the Titans to reconsider with Friend going on to rank as the Gold Coast's highest rating player in the Dally M.

“Not knowing my future was stressful for both me and my family, but the season wasn't bad all up,” Friend said.

“I think I faded away a bit towards the end but all in all I am happy with the season.”



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