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Inaugural iSelect Gold Coast Titans prop and ageless war horse Luke Bailey has today extended his longstanding association with the club by signing a one-year contract extension for season 2014.
The 33-year-old former NSW and Australian Test forward, who will play his 243rd NRL match against the Rabbitohs in Cairns on Sunday, has agreed to play on with the Titans next year in what will mark his eighth season on the Gold Coast.
Despite suffering a serious achilles tendon injury last season, the Shellharbour Steelers junior has returned to some of his best form this year as well as playing an important leadership role at the club as a mentor for younger players.
Bailey said he was excited to have earned another contract at the club for next season and has not ruled out the possibility of continuing his career beyond 2014.
“I’m happy with re-signing for another 12 months especially after my achilles injury. I’m still excited about playing and I feel that I’ve got something to offer on and off the field,’’ said Bailey.
“I still think I’m competing pretty well against the top front rowers in the game and feel that I’m able to offer something in helping the young front rowers we’ve got at the club.
“I’m just excited to be part of a good team, we’ve got some strike players that are firing and some good halves so it’s a great time to be re-signing.’’
Bailey said he could not have made a successful comeback from his achilles injury without the support of his wife Bec and even his young children Amarli, Hudson and Lexi.
“I’ve always been quite a positive person but there were times after my achilles injury that Bec could see I was down so she was always in my ear. She’s been a big help and has always been putting my footy first and her second throughout my career so I can’t thank her enough for that,’’ he said.
“Even my two eldest children, they know what’s going on now and follow the footy. They were giving it to me about being on the bench when my number changed from 8 to 15 so it’s good, I like going out there and trying to put on a show for them.
“I never thought it was my last year when I did my achilles. If anything it’s been a blessing in disguise because I didn’t get flogged as much during the pre-season and it has given me more energy for this time of year.’’
iSelect Titans Coach John Cartwright said Bailey was performing as well now as he did when he first arrived for the club’s inaugural season in 2007.
“We’ve been talking to ‘Bails’ since the season started and he’s very proud of his performance so if he didn’t think he could be performing at the level he has, I dare say he would have said ‘it’s time’,’’ said Cartwright.
“His form has been as good as when he first started for the club in 2007. He defies nature and just gets better and better with age.
“He just prides himself on his performance and the thing with Bails is he wants to win a grand final, which is something he believes we can do.
“He’s also grooming guys that are going to take over his job down the track and that’s a rare quality to have.’’