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St George Illawarra Dragons forward Luke Bailey has thrown his weight behind the Gold Coast Titans in urging his future team mates not to turn their backs on the latest NRL franchise.
In an interview published in the Gold Coast Bulletin, Bailey confirmed his commitment to the Gold Coast. Widely heralded as major coup for the Titans, the international front rower will be joining the fledgling club on the field in 2007.
The Titans this week were sticking by their guns in a tug-of-war with the Melbourne Storm over outside back Steve Turner. Then yesterday Penrith Panthers back rower Frank Puletua was reportedly seeking a release from his contract with the Titans.
?I am a little surprised at these blokes getting cold feet because it is not such a dramatic change.? Bailey told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
?This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What a great challenge starting out with a new club, you don?t get many opportunities like this.?
Turner, 21, reportedly agreed to a two year deal with the Gold Coast Titans on June 19.
In accepting the deal, Turner said, ?The opportunity to play in my preferred position at fullback excites me. I have been behind some great players at the Storm and have been appreciative for the support they have shown me but the chance to concentrate on the number 1 jersey at a brand new club is something that is too good to pass up.?
Despite coming to a verbal agreement with the Titans, Turner did an about-turn last Tuesday, announcing he had re-signed with the Storm. Titans managing director Michael Searle immediately went on the front foot, providing extensive documentation to NRL CEO David Gallop. Gallop?s preliminary ruling was that an agreement was reached between the Titans and Turner. In addition, Gallop says he's received an email from Turner's manager David Riolo which fully supports the Titans' case.
In the same week, rumours were circulating that Newcastle Knights' international winger Brian Carney was homesick for Ireland. Soon after, Gold Coast product and Parramatta Eels utility Luke O?Dwyer was rumoured to be having second thoughts. Both these players have since reconfirmed their commitment to the Titans.
Searle yesterday moved to play down any concerns over the signing of Frank Puletua.
?I have spoken to his manager and Carty (coach John Cartwright) had spoken to Frankie? and it would be exceptional circumstances for our club to consider a release to any player at such a late stage of the season,? he said.
Meanwhile Luke Bailey expressed no doubts as to where he stands on the Turner dispute.
?A deal is a deal whether it is a handshake or on paper,? he said.