Preston Campbell re-signs with Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Preston Campbell re-signs with Titans

By Laine Clark 09/06/2011 07:29:00 PM Comments (0)

One tackle was all it took to convince Gold Coast boss Michael Searle that Titans veteran Preston Campbell would again postpone retirement and re-sign for another NRL season.

The dead-last Titans succumbed to their fourth straight loss last weekend, but Searle still left Skilled Park with a smile thanks to Campbell.

When the 167cm, 76kg utility cut down Penrith giant Petero Civoniceva - 32kg heavier than Campbell - Searle believed it would only be a matter of time before the 34-year-old re-signed.

"It said to me he wanted to continue to play when he took Petero front-on last week and plonked him on his backside - if that is not the best advertisement for rugby league I will give it up," Searle told AAP.

"But that's Presto. That's how he reacts when the team is under pressure - he digs in."

Searle was proved right on Thursday when Campbell confirmed he would return for his 15th NRL season in 2012 - a remarkable achievement for the pint-sized playmaker.

Only four current NRL players have been in the top grade longer than Campbell - Broncos captain Darren Lockyer (1995 debut), Newcastle's Adam MacDougall (1995), Wests Tigers prop Todd Payten (1996) and Eels winger Chris Hicks (1997).

Another nine players have been running around since 1998 - but few have come in a smaller package than Campbell.

Still, the former Dally M medallist has racked up 257 games to date since his 1998 debut.

"I remember when he signed for the Titans, I said we could get five or six seasons out of him and now he is doing that - that's remarkable," Searle said.

"He's approaching 300 games which is incredible for any footballer, but when you consider Preston's size I think it is a great thing for rugby league."

Campbell had been considering his future over the past two years but Searle believed a desire to leave the club in better shape than he found it had led to his re-signing.

Last year's preliminary finalists are bottom of the NRL ladder but welcome hot recruits such as Jamal Idris next year.

"He's very determined to leave the club in good shape - it's the old adage `when the going gets tough'," Searle said.

"He has an opportunity to work with these guys (new signings) and make sure he inducts them into our culture, show what it means to play for this club."

Searle said the decision to re-sign was always up to Campbell - but that looked shaky just weeks ago.

Campbell looked down in the dumps after nine errors in four games before turning it around with a starring role in last round's loss to Penrith.

"The main reason is I'm feeling really good at the moment," Campbell said of his re-signing.

"The way we're going as a team isn't that great but hopefully we can finish this season on a good note.

"We've got a bit of a changing team and there will be some fresh faces here next year so I'm really excited to play alongside those boys."

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