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Melbourne Storm Centre Jake Webster has become the Gold Coast Titans 17th signing agreeing to a 3 year deal with the fledgling club.
The Melbourne born Webster?s move to Queensland was a deciding factor in his decision. Webster began his rugby league career as an 8 year old playing for Valleys in Brisbane.
Webster said, ?This is a great opportunity for me to return to Queensland to be closer to my family in Brisbane. To play in a start up club is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am really looking forward to. It will be sad to leave the Storm at the end of the year but I am equally excited about what 2007 will bring. I am also looking forward to making a name for myself as centre and I believe I can achieve that with the Titans. ?
With Josh Graham the only other earmarked centre, the signing of Webster is significant for the club moving forward.
Head Coach John Cartwright said, ?Jake?s one of our most important signings to date, he?s 22 years old and if he was NSW or QLD (He?s a New Zealand International ruling him out of State of Origin contention) he?d be playing origin as well. We are looking at him at centre, it?s a position that we need to have strength in and he?s currently the best on the market in that position.?
It?s his form that has impressed coach Cartwright. Named the Storm?s 2005 most improved player, Webster is one of the form centres of the NRL this season.
Cartwright said, ?They tend to fly under the radar down in Melbourne because they don?t get as much coverage in the print media but I watch him week in and week out and whether he?s playing centre or wing, he?s exceptional. Jake is a 22 year old current international and that?s a major signing for us.?
Titans Managing Director Michael Searle expressed his gratitude to the Melbourne Storm in allowing Jake to negotiate with the Titans ahead of the June 30 Anti Tampering deadline.
Gold Coast Titans signings to date: Forwards: 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: Jake Webster (Melbourne Storm), Steve Turner (Storm) Preston Campbell (Panthers) Brian Carney (Newcastle) Matt Petersen (Eels) Scott Prince (Tigers) Richie Mathers (Rhinos) Josh Graham (Western Force)