Marquee target still in Titans' sights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Marquee target still in Titans' sights

By Laine Clark 14/01/2009 08:12:46 PM Comments (0)

Missing out on not one, but two big names has not discouraged the Gold Coast Titans.

Barely 24 hours after their latest target Robbie Farah re-signed with Wests Tigers, Titans boss Michael Searle said the NRL club would step up their search for a "marquee signing" in the coming weeks.

But it won't be another rake.

The Titans opted to dip into their local nursery after failing to lure both Farah and Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith, re-signing budding hooker Kayne Lawton until 2011 on Wednesday.

Farah's latest snub and stalled talks with current No.1 Titans rake Nathan Friend ensures Lawton, 19, is now in the box seat for the 2010 hooking role on the tourist strip.

Far from discouraged by Farah's announcement to stay in Sydney, Searle said the hunt was on in earnest for another major name.

"It is fair to say we will be in the market for a marquee player," he said.

"As to what position that is it will be up to Carty (coach John Cartwright) to decide in the coming weeks."

However, Cartwright hinted that the club's next superstar might be right under their noses.

"Manly showed last year when some guys really jumped out, and all of a sudden they had marquee players that they didn't even know about," he said.

"I'm not going to say that won't happen to us either.

"I am very impressed with the talent coming through out 20s."

Searle said he was "not surprised" that Farah brushed the Titans and conceded it was unlikely Friend would remain on the Gold Coast beyond 2009 after a deadline for their ungraded contract offer expired.

"It is fair to say that the likelihood of Nathan staying beyond this season is highly remote," he said.

"And on that basis we move forward with a view to not only securing young prospects like Kane but also to look at bringing potential utilities into the club."

Searle did not expect Friend to lower his normally high workrate in 2009 despite the contract hiccup.

"He is an ultimate professional, so I have no doubt he will working as hard as he possibly can," he said.

Plenty of hard work also lies ahead for Lawton.

Cartwright said the 19-year-old would "definitely" play first grade this year but denied that Lawton would be given an armchair ride into the No.1 hooking role.

"We've tried to get through to him it is an apprenticeship, it is a tough gig," he said.

"And sometimes it takes a year or two to get used to the pace of the game.

"But he is aware of that. He will get an opportunity at some stage this year and we will make our judgement from there."

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