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3 days ago
Souths Second Rower Mark Minichiello and Eels Centre Brett Delaney have become the 20th and 21st signings for the Gold Coast Titans as the fledgling clubs recruitment drive nears its? final stages.
Both are excited by the lifestyle change in store for them in moving to the Gold Coast and the challenges that lay ahead in joining the NRL?s newest team.
Minichiello said, ?I?m ready for a change ? I?ve been at Souths for 4 years and I have definitely enjoyed my time there but it?s time for a change. After speaking with John Cartwright (Titans Head Coach) and Michael Searle (Titans Managing Director) I am looking forward to joining the team and learning some things from the coaching staff. I am also excited to be calling my new home the Gold Coast.?
Delaney said, ?It seems like there?s a really good vibe at the Titans with the new team. Scott Sattler, John Cartwright and Michael Searle have briefed me on what the plans are up there and it sounds really good. I am just eager to get to the Gold Coast and start pre-season training.?
Delaney?s decision was made easier by being able to achieve his goal of potentially playing full time in the centres. He has played a handful of games for the Eels in that position this year but he concedes this was mainly because of injury to the incumbents.
?It wasn?t really a hard decision in the end?, said Delaney. ?I am moving up for the opportunity to play in the centres. At Parramatta those positions are taken by Tamana (Tahu) and Ben (Smith). If I wanted to stay there I would have to play back row so Carty (John Cartwright) said that there is an opportunity to play in the centres so I took that lead with both hands and I am happy I made the decision.?
Minichiello believes the move will provide the platform for him develop as a player and improve his game.
?I think things will work in my favour to go to the club,? he said. ?They?ve signed some good forwards some good talent all around the park and I?m just looking forward to getting up there and playing some good solid consistent football. The change will do me the world of good and it?s an opportunity to prove myself as a better footballer.?
Cartwright coached Minichiello in reserve grade for one year and then as assistant first grade coach his final year at the Roosters. The 24 year old is impressed with Cartwright?s coaching style and that formed an important part of his decision to sign with the Titans .
Cartwright said, ?I was impressed with him then because he?s got a great work ethic. He lives for rugby league and I think he?s been impressive in a struggling club over the last 2 years. Souths have given him an opportunity to play first grade and I think week in week out he?s one of their best players and I know he?s looking for a change in scenery. The Gold Coast presents a new lifestyle and he was as excited as we are with the players that we?ve signed and the potential that exists here for him.
Nearing the end of the Titans recruitment campaign Cartwright is happy with the results and believes the blend of age and experience with the type of people the signings are off the field will provide a formidable start to the NRL competition come 2007. Minichiello fits into that equation perfectly.
?We?ve got a really good blend,? said Cartwright. ?We?ve got young fellas who are 20, 21, 22 year olds and we?ve also got some good real hard heads in the right positions who have done the hard yards but are still only growing as footballers. There?s a good mix here and he?s experienced enough to be one of the leaders in the team. He?s a total professional and they?re the type of guys we need to kick off the Titans.
Cartwright was equally as happy with the signature of Delaney who rounds out the number of available centres to 4 with Jake Webster, Josh Graham and Gavin Cooper making up the other three.
He said, ?We?re very fortunate as Brett is probably one of the best on the market. He?s 20, he?s got his best years in front of him and he?s potentially one of the best goal kickers in the NRL. Brett comes to us wanting to play rep footy in the future and he?s another one who comes from a professional organisation like the Parramatta Eels. If you get kids out of there, you know they?ve done all the basics well and he?s ideal for the blend in our side.?
Gold Coast Titans signings to date:
Forwards: Mark Minichiello (Souths) Clint Amos (Cowboys) Michael Henderson (Dragons) Michael Hodgson (Raiders) Frank Puletua (Panthers) Luke Bailey (Dragons) Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers) Luke Swain (Panthers) Brad Meyers (Bradford) Nathan Friend (Storm) Luke O?Dwyer (Eels)
Backs: Brett Delaney (Eels) Jake Webster (Melbourne Storm) Gavin Cooper (Cowboys) Steve Turner (Melbourne Storm) Preston Campbell (Panthers) Brian Carney (Newcastle) Matt Petersen (Eels) Scott Prince (Tigers) Richie Mathers (Rhinos) Josh Graham (Western Force)