Emotional Titans handed NRL spoon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Emotional Titans handed NRL spoon

Laine Clark 04/09/2011 02:43:08 PM Comments (0)

A choked-up Luke Bailey admitted it was difficult to look Preston Campbell in the eye after the Titans soured the Gold Coast veteran's NRL farewell with a 32-12 capitulation to Parramatta.

But Campbell, 34, was oddly at peace with Saturday night's result at Skilled Park that also handed the Titans the 2011 wooden spoon.

One of the NRL's tough guys, Bailey struggled to keep his emotions in check after the Eels' Jarryd Hayne-inspired win drew thecurtain on Campbell's stellar 14-year career.

"It's hard to look a bloke in the eye who has done so much for the game and you toss up shit like that," Bailey said.

"There will be a few beers, a few tears and then we will get on with it."

Being the first Gold Coast side to finish with the spoon since the Seagulls in 1993 was the least of Bailey's worries after he farewelled nine players including foundation Titans Campbell, Brad Meyers (retirement), Nathan Friend (Warriors) and Anthony Laffranchi (England).

"It hurts now but when we reflect over the next few weeks it will sink in that we got the wooden spoon," he said.

"But with the blokes leaving it is going to be a pretty emotional time.

"They deserved a lot better and we didn't front up.

"I am disgusted and disappointed in myself and the team - it can't get any worse next year I suppose."

Yet Campbell was his usual jovial self as he spent hours on the ground after the game signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

"To be honest it wasn't a very emotional day - I was just so satisfied and content with my decision," said Campbell.

"I have more great highlights compared with the low ones - that's the way I look at it."

The former Dally M medal winner and 2003 premiership player could even make light of his finale, saying he would use the NRL wooden spoon to stir his porridge.

Campbell reckoned he had been given a week off before taking up his new Titans role working with indigenous communities and football staff.

"I have to get a real job now," he laughed.

Campbell changed his mind several times about retirement in recent seasons but vowed it was "definitely" his last game - for the Titans, that is.

He looked forward to playing club footy in future.

"I don't think I can give it away cold turkey," he said.

Meanwhile, Titans coach John Cartwright said his club would have to "reinvent" itself in the off-season after experiencing the "lowest of the low".

While the likes of Scott Prince, Ryan James and Ash Harrison ended the season on the sidelines, Cartwright lamented the serious injuries of hooker Friend, workaholic forward Meyers and flyer Kevin Gordon.

"They were guys the side was built around the last couple of years - we were a totally different side once those guys weren't there," he said.

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