Big-spending Titans left in salary cap bind
THE cash-splashing Gold Coast Titans are in a recruitment pickle following revelations the club has little money to spend on star signings next season.
Club sources have confirmed the Titans currently have little room to move in their 2020 salary cap.
The Titans have spent big on a host of players over the past two years which has mostly filled the club's 2020 quota.
As it stands, the Titans will not be able to sign a big-name star for next year unless they can move on a contracted player, leaving coach Garth Brennan to extract the most out of his current squad over the next two seasons.
In the past two years the Titans have spent millions to secure players they believed were key to the club's success.
Halfback Ash Taylor is in the first year of a $1 million-a-season deal after the Titans paid overs to retain him.
Hooker Nathan Peats secured a $650,000-a-season deal when he was the incumbent NSW Origin No. 9, a position he lost last year.
Captain Ryan James is on a similar contract and so to is prop Jarrod Wallace, who negotiated a massive four-year deal last season as an Origin player.
Backrowers Kevin Proctor and Bryce Cartwright have not lived up to their $500,000-a-season contracts.
Luckily for the Titans, the club does not have any key players coming off contract this year which would affect their ability to retain them.
Emerging forward Max King is the club's re-signing priority this season, but next year is a different story.
Gun youngsters Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson are off contract at the end of 2020 and will be seeking upgraded deals following their impressive development.
New Titans CEO Steve Mitchell said he was satisfied with the club's roster situation and highlighted a three-year plan implemented by Brennan and league Immortal Mal Meninga.
"Mal and Garth have a strategy that will run forward over the next couple of seasons that will see us well placed in regards to the player spread across each position," he said.
"There is a lot of work going into that space at the moment. It's a 24, 36-month plan from what I've seen.
"They are being very strategic about it. I'm excited about where the club's going to be in three years from now.
"I like what I've heard about what they're looking to achieve.
"If that's the path we're going to take then we're going to be in a really good place."
The Titans finished 14th last season in Brennan's first year in charge.
The rookie coach had inherited a squad mostly pieced together by former coach Neil Henry, but Brennan has put his stamp on the Titans this year.
He has signed former Kangaroos prop Shannon Boyd from Canberra and NSW Origin utility Tyrone Peachey from the Panthers.
Brennan has earned a contract extension until the end of 2020 and has to find improvement from his current squad to secure his long-term future in the NRL.
"I've got my stamp on the team a little bit more this year," Brennan said.
"I'm more comfortable with the roster and defensive structures.
"Last year I had so many other things going on that football was one part of it.
"I've been very conscious to focus more on the footy side this year. That's what I'm paid to do and want to do."