Titans boss Michael Searle has ruled out increasing the club’s offer to off-contract hooker Nathan Friend in a last-ditch bid to keep him on the Gold Coast.
The revelation Friend would quit the club at season’s end yesterday sent shockwaves through the Gold Coast and left fans asking why the Titans haven’t done more to retain him.
With the Titans and Friend unable to reach an agreement on a new deal, the headgear wearing rake looks set to accept a three-year offer from the Warriors believed to be worth close to $1 million.
It is understood the Gold Coast’s final offer was a two-year deal, with a one year option, worth just over $700,000.
It will not be the last tough decision surrounding the salary cap this season for the Titans.
More than a dozen players are up for renewal in what is shaping as the biggest personnel shake up since the club’s inaugural season in 2007.
Topping the list of off-contract Titans are ageing stars Luke Bailey, Preston Campbell, Brad Meyers, Anthony Laffranchi and Clinton Toopi.
At the other end of the spectrum, Joseph Tomane, Esi Tonga, Kayne Lawton, Riley Brown, Will Matthews, Jordan Rankin, Luke Capewell and Shannon Walker are also facing pivotal seasons in their burgeoning NRL careers.
UPDATE: Nathan Friend has agreed to terms with the Warriors and will finish his NRL career across the ditch.