Sacked Bronco thrown NRL lifeline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sacked Bronco thrown NRL lifeline

By Laine Clark 06/02/2009 06:02:20 PM Comments (0)

An NRL lifeline has been thrown to sacked Brisbane hooker Ian Lacey who has emerged as the big winner from a bold Gold Coast Titans recruitment drive.

Barely 12 months after wondering if he would play in the NRL again, Lacey has been offered an incentive-based one-year deal.

It all fell into place for Lacey after the Gold Coast's bids to lure Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah fell through and contract talks with Titans No.1 hooker Nathan Friend stalled.

Not that it was an easy ride to the Titans for Lacey.

Lacey and John Te Reo had their Broncos contracts torn up in late 2007 after the early morning bashing of a man outside a Brisbane pub.

Lacey was given a suspended six-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.

On the NRL outer, he snapped up a second chance offered by Queensland Cup outfit Ipswich last season - as Titans boss Michael Searle watched with interest.

He was eventually called into the Titans training squad, and when the dust settled from the Gold Coast's unsuccessful bid for a marquee No.9, Searle knew who to turn to next.

"It's an opportunity to resurrect his career. I think he has learned a lot from what he went through before," Searle told AAP.

"Sometimes when you are faced with not playing the game it makes you realise how much you love the game.

"I think he has a lot to offer."

While Searle said it was early days, he would not rule out a long-term future for Lacey.

"It's an opportunity for him, an incentive-based contract," he said.

"If he grabs it with both hands we will see what happens from there.

"It is a little too early to forecast what happens beyond this season, but he will be given an opportunity."

Lacey will be back-up to Friend, who looks set to leave at the end of the season.

Teenager Kayne Lawton is a long-term prospect at hooker after re-signing with the club until the end of 2011.

Searle said Lacey's signing should also inspire those toiling away in the Titans feeder clubs, Queensland Cup sides Ipswich and Tweed Heads.

"We kept a close eye on Ian at the Ipswich Jets. This is good for those guys who play at our feeder clubs to see that we do use them," Searle said.

"It's a good message to them that we are genuine, that we do want to have a close relationship with them."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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