Titans move to secure key talent
Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan has outlined plans to lock-up dynamic youngster AJ Brimson to a long-term deal with the Titans.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Titans will move to secure last year's Dally M rookie-of-the-year nominee to a contract extension this season before he hits the open market.
Brimson, 20, was a revelation in his debut NRL season for the Titans last year, playing 15 games to announce himself as a star of the future.
The Gold Coast product is contracted to the Titans until the end of the 2020 season, meaning he cannot be formally poached by a rival club before November this year.
But Brennan is determined to secure Brimson to a new deal which would see him form a mouth-watering scrumbase alliance with $1 million-a-season halfback Ash Taylor.
Brennan said the Titans wanted to re-sign Brimson before he could be poached.
"He is a Gold Coast kid and loves the place," Brennan said.
"He is very settled on the coast and his mum is not real keen on AJ moving away from home.
"We gave him a crack when a lot of clubs weren't giving him a crack. He feels a bit of loyalty to the club.
"He is very much part of our plans in the future.
"He is a level-headed kid. He understands this is home for him and it means that little bit more to him playing here in front of his family and friends.
"There won't be too many concerns about him heading anywhere else. The club will be determined to ensure he stays at the Titans for the long-term."
Brimson, whose given name is Alexander, is on the mend from a shoulder reconstruction but is expected to be fit for the Gold Coast's season-opener against Canberra on March 17 at Cbus Super Stadium.
He could feature in one of the Titans' upcoming trials, however Brennan is reluctant to rush him into the starting side given the severity of his surgery.
While Brimson's short-term future is at five-eighth before a proposed move to fullback, Brennan said an interchange position was on the cards to usher him back into the NRL.
"He's still not doing full contact yet and we're in February, so I'm not going to rush him," he said.
"I didn't rush him last year despite getting hammered for playing Bryce (Cartwright) at six.
"I'll do the same this year. I'm not going to be bullied into picking him, he needs to be ready before I throw him in.
"If it means easing him in off the bench then that's an option I have up my sleeve as well.
"He is only 21, coming off a shoulder reconstruction and it's a long season. I don't want to rush the kid.
"Imagine bringing AJ on to the field 25 minutes into a game when the forwards are starting to get a bit tired.
"That's something I'm tinkering with for early in the year. That's not saying he will be a bench player for the whole season, but you can ease him in and take a bit of heat off him."
Brimson's proposed interchange role means Tyrone Roberts is favoured to wear the Gold Coast's No.6 jersey in Round 1 after returning to the club from Warrington.
Storm recruit Ryley Jacks has suffered a setback after hyper-extending his elbow in training.