Gold Coast are set to begin their pursuit for Storm hooker Brandon Smith, as Melbourne continue to sweat on the impending decision of Cameron Smith’s career.
The Titans have freed up approximately $4 million in their salary, with the upcoming departures of Bryce Cartwright, Leilani Latu, Callum Watkins, Shannon Boyd, Ryan James and Jai Arrow.
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Nathan Peats, Dale Copley and Tyrone Roberts will also be heading for the exit with the club not offering to re-sign the trio for 2021.
The Titans have already locked in David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Herman Ese’ese for 2021, with Gold Coast now turning their attention to Smith, according to The Courier Mail.
Storm veteran Cameron Smith is yet to announce whether he will play on or retire at the end of the season, with gun pair Harry Grant and Smith’s futures riding on the decision.
The New Zealand international would remain out-of-favour if Smith is to play on in 2021 while Harry Grant returns from his loan deal with Wests after a stealer 2020 season.
The Titans are set to explore available hookers in the upcoming off-season with Smith seen as one of the most likely to leave their current post.
Gold Coast recruitment manager Ezra Howe has known links with the Kiwi’s test side and could play a major role in attracting Smith away from Victoria.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook continues to build a promising lineup for the future, with AJ Brimson, Jamal Fogarty and Ash Taylor all hitting their stride in 2020.
The Titans cut Cartwright’s $450,000 contract on Thursday and now sit in a position to be major players in the upcoming open market.
“Now the Carty situation has been resolved it’s great for us and Bryce,” Holbrook said.
“He is a really good person so I hope everything works out for him.
“Our situation in terms of getting an extra spot to fill, the recruitment team will look into that over the next couple of weeks. It only got finalised the other day so we’ll look into it now.
“I’m really happy with all the positions we’ve got covered for now and next year.
“We’ll see where we need to add more depth over the next couple of weeks.
“Off the top of my head I’m happy with where we’re at with the playing roster.”
Holbrook acknowledged the lift in confidence within his playing group, stating his excitement with direction the club is moving.
“I’ve noticed the players are getting on great and enjoying each other’s company which helps,” he said.
“You hear that said a lot but it’s such an important part. You’ve got to enjoy who you’re playing with.
“As coaches, I’ve noticed we’re not having to intervene as much during training on any part, whether it’s technical, tactical or an attitude point of view.
“The players have been fantastic for a number of weeks now which makes our job easier.
“We’re also wary that we don’t want to fall in love with ourselves. We’re playing really good but we’ve got to maintain that.”