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22 hours ago
Gold Coast co-captain Luke Bailey believes teammate Anthony Laffranchi is tailor-made for the intense pace in State of Origin rugby league.
Laffranchi is considered a certainty to be named in the NSW Origin squad on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the ladder-leading Titans announced they'd re-signed him until the end of the 2011 NRL season.
"There's a lot of great back-rowers out there but I think his game would really be suited to Origin footy, just how quick it is," Bailey told AAP on Monday.
"The games these days are won on quick play-the-balls and runs behind the ruck and that's his speciality play.
"The late off-load, the quick play-the-ball, he'd be awesome."
The 27-year-old Laffranchi joins teammates Bailey, Scott Prince and Mark Minichiello and coach John Cartwright on long-term deals with the Titans.
The club have upgraded Laffranchi's deal, which was due to expire at the end of next year, and extended the Country Origin forward's contract for another two seasons.
Gold Coast managing director Michael Searle said Laffranchi was entitled to a spot in the Blues squad after being unlucky to miss selection last year.
"I think he deserves the title as the best back-rower in the game at the moment," Searle said.
"If you pick the team on form, you'd hope he'd be in it.
"I thought he was unlucky last year but in saying that I thought he showed strength of character to continually grind away.
"His focus hasn't changed, it's always been about making representative teams."
Laffranchi's high workrate in defence and his damaging runs on the edge of the ruck have been instrumental in propelling the Titans to the top of the NRL ladder.
His devastating form has come in the face of adversity, with a Sydney court dismissing a rape charge against Laffranchi less than three weeks ago.
"A lot of players would've been frustrated (by the court case) and let it affect their game but he's thrived on it," Bailey said.
"It shows what sort of character he's got. He's taken out his frustration by playing some good footy."
Laffranchi, who served as Australia's 18th man for last Friday night's Centenary Test against New Zealand, said he was excited about the Titans' future.
"Carty is here for a long time and the experienced players are here so I think we've got a good nucleus," the Murwillumbah product added.
"He's worked well with me this year and I've learnt a lot under him.
"With Princey, Bails and Mini on board as well, I think we've got a good crop of senior players here."
In a further boost to the club, Bailey is set to make a comeback from a broken wrist in Friday's clash with the Bulldogs at Skilled Park.
The bullocking prop will undergo x-rays on Tuesday but he's confident of gaining a clearance to play this week.
"I haven't done a great deal of contact work but I'll get more of a test tomorrow afternoon and Thursday," Bailey said.
"I'm pretty confident I'll be sweet."