Campbell backflip no shock: Titans boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Campbell backflip no shock: Titans boss

By Laine Clark 04/06/2009 01:11:54 PM Comments (0)

Retirement talk from playmaker Preston Campbell was music to the ears of Gold Coast Titans boss Michael Searle.

In fact, Searle reckoned he would have been concerned if Campbell was not considered pulling the pin following the Titans' pre-season program.

After beginning the year hinting that 2009 may be his last, Campbell appeared to complete a remarkable backflip when he recently declared he had "at least" two more seasons left in him.

That wish has been granted with a two-year contract extension all but finalised for the diminutive fullback.

But Searle could see Campbell's dramatic change of heart coming a mile off.

"I have found that retirement messages from players at the start of the season just reflects that they have had an intense off-season, and mentally they are fatigued," Searle told AAP.

"It is a sign that they have had an intense off-season and will probably have a good season as long as you can keep them fresh.

"If you have a guy at that age who isn't saying that, the off-season has been too soft - that's my view."

Searle's gut feeling proved spot on.

Campbell, who turns 32 on Sunday, has turned back the clock in 2009, showing vintage form to help keep the Gold Coast in sight of a finals debut.

Even if Campbell hadn't changed his tune regarding retirement, Searle reckoned he had every contingency covered for a player he has compared with "The King" Wally Lewis.

"I've said all along that he could come to me the first week before training next year (and put his hand up)," he said.

"I would leave a contingency in the salary cap for him if he wanted to play.

"Preston is an enigma. He continues to improve as he gets older.

"He is a bit like Wally Lewis, he reads the game. And Preston is becoming a better reader of the game."

Searle said a two-year contract extension would be finalised once Campbell eventually sat down and went through it.

"We've already made the decision. We've just got to sit down and finalise it," Searle said.

"He is the only player I know in which contract negotiations don't take precedence, that's nice to be honest.

"His obligations as a footballer, as a father and as a community leader come first. The contract is something he will get to when he is ready.

"He is not out there trying to get leverage from five different clubs. I like doing business like that."

Once he puts pen to paper, Campbell will have committed himself to the Titans until the age of 34, just like co-captain and halfback Scott Prince.

But Searle had no fears that the Titans would be "running on old legs" in the future.

"The game has sped up, the small man is back in the game," he said.

"And to be honest this theory that at 30 you are out, I find that ridiculous."

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