AJ to Brennan: What took you so long?
ONE thing highly-touted Titans debutant Alexander 'AJ' Brimson doesn't lack is confidence.
"I sat down with him and had a talk to him about whether he thought he was ready and he said 'what took you so long?'," Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan said.
"I've seen how he's reacted at training and how he is around the boys. It's given me even more confidence that he's ready to go.
"I think the time is right for him to have a crack."
Brimson will make his NRL debut at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night when the Titans face Melbourne in the first match of the double-header blockbuster.
The 19-year-old has been pitched into the Gold Coast's No.6 jersey for a showdown with Queensland Origin five-eighth Cameron Munster.
First-grade baptisms do not get much tougher, but Brimson is ready to tackle whatever is thrown at him.
Born in Brisbane, the speedy playmaker travelled through a host of junior clubs before being picked up by the Titans while starring for league nursery Keebra Park High School.
He has committed to the Gold Coast until 2020 and now wants to lock up a permanent spot at five-eighth.
"I went to a few different schools in Brisbane and moved around a bit. I played for a few different Brisbane clubs," Brimson said.
"I played a bit in Brisbane at Graceville and Centenary. My parents split up and my mum met her partner down the Coast and I moved here when I was 12.
"I went to school at Tallebudgera, Benowa then finished up at Keebra for the last three years.
"I came down here and played at Currumbin when I lived at Tallebudgera. I went to Southport Tigers and played there for a year.
"Then I went to Runaway Bay and played there for a couple of years. I played a bit of under-20s for Tweed too.
"I've been at the Titans (for my whole professional career) and I don't really want to go anywhere else.
"I really like it here. It's home."
Brimson's travels saw him develop into an elusive playmaker who is a more than handy fullback.
At 181cm and 89kg he is incredibly quick and strong on his feet, prompting Brennan to take a punt on the teenager as he attempts to snap a four-game losing streak.
"He will bring some energy and enthusiasm,'' Brennan said.
Brennan has failed to find the right foil for halfback Ash Taylor, with Kane Elgey and Bryce Cartwright struggling to put their stamp on the No.6 jersey.
Brimson is essentially his final option at five-eighth and showed promising signs when he featured in a trial match against the Broncos in the pre-season.
Brimson was the Gold Coast's best player in the Toowoomba trial, splitting 80 minutes between halfback and fullback in a performance that gave him confidence to step into the NRL.
"As the game went on I got more and more confident," he said.
"After about five minutes it just felt like another game. They were obviously bigger bodies but it was good.
"Garth wants me to be confident. Even though I'm talking to experienced players, in my position I have to be dominant."
Hooker Nathan Peats will travel as 18th man and could return from a rib injury.