Douglas to Titans on big day of signings - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Douglas to Titans on big day of signings

By Ben Horne and Wayne Heming 20/04/2011 08:38:51 PM Comments (0)

Having already snared Jamal Idris for 2012, Gold Coast have bulked up their front-row stocks by signing Cronulla prop Luke Douglas to a three-year deal.

The 24-year-old from Yamba in northern NSW, named 18th man for NSW Origin last season, has played 128 NRL games since making his debut for the Sharks in 2006.

It was a big day of signings in the NRL with newly cashed-up Newcastle announcing captain Kurt Gidley had committed his future to the Knights for another four years.

While at South Sydney, local juniors John Sutton and Nathan Merritt agreed to new deals which will keep them at the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2014 season.

Titans coach John Cartwright likened the 192cm, 110kg Douglas to his iron man Luke Bailey, who celebrates his 200th game this weekend.

"He plays big minutes and is very similar to a Luke Bailey-type," said Cartwright of Douglas, who is well in contention for a Blues debut next month.

"One of his ambitions was to play alongside Luke Bailey and we see him as the sort of guy that when Bails does retire down the track, he'll take over from him.

"He ticks a lot of boxes. He's verging on State of Origin selection, he's young, he's from the Northern Rivers and he's come here for the right reasons with bigger money on offer elsewhere."

The Knights pulled off their second major coup since multi-millionaire Nathan Tinkler's takeover, with their leader and star player Gidley excited about the club's future under super coach Wayne Bennett.

The 28-year-old, who has made 173 appearances for his boyhood team, said the advent of the new ownership and the prospect of a maiden premiership helped motivate his decision.

"The security of the club is in its best ever position and Nathan, I've had a good couple of chats to him and he's a passionate supporter and a good man to have behind us," Gidley said.

"(A grand final) that's the last piece of the puzzle for myself, I've represented NSW and Australia and that's been great but that little piece that's left is a grand final ... and another four years hopefully I'll have one under my belt."

Meanwhile Sutton and Merritt provided good news for Souths in the midst of speculation that Parramatta will make a big play for their halfback Chris Sandow.

Merritt, 27, is one of three players still at the club after playing in the Rabbitohs' re-instatement season in 2002.

The speedster has scored over 100 tries in the process, and after a stint at Cronulla earlier in his career, said he didn't want to leave Redfern again.

Sutton was widely thought to be on his way out of the club, before worries about money were alleviated.

"There were offers and it made it a bit hard when some players like Greg (Inglis) take up most of the cap and I thought I might be forced out," he said.

"But I just tried to concentrate on having a good start to the season and I wasn't trying to worry about it and it all got sorted out pretty quickly.

"I really think if Chrissy (Sandow) hangs around I really think we can gel and go forward for the club.

"He's got a tough decision to make but I hope he stays."

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