NRL Immortal Mal Meninga has played a key role in the Titans’ fightback but he could be lost to a second Brisbane team with expansion on the horizon.
NRL Immortal Mal Meninga has played a key role in the Titans’ fightback but he could be lost to a second Brisbane team with expansion on the horizon.

Immortal for hire: Titans face battle to keep Meninga

The Titans are fighting to retain Mal Meninga with the Gold Coast culture boss revealing he is open to helping set up a proposed second Brisbane team to challenge the Broncos.

Meninga's three-year contract with the Titans expires at the end of this season, leaving him a free agent for 2022 and beyond at a time when the NRL is ramping-up plans to expand the competition to 17 teams.

The NRL Immortal has played a key role in a planned rebirth of the Titans, having poached coach Justin Holbrook from St Helens, while also luring marquee recruits David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui this season.

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Meninga is hopeful the Titans want to retain his services following his appointment in 2019, but the Australian coach is keeping an open mind as bid teams Brisbane Jets, Firehawks and Dolphins battle it out to become Queensland's fourth NRL team.

The prospect of Meninga working with a second Brisbane team in 2023 would give the NRL's 17th club instant clout as they prepare to outperform glamour side the Broncos in the Queensland market.

"My preference is to stay on at the Titans, but I would certainly look at another opportunity in Queensland," Meninga said.

"I need to address my future soon.

"I would like to stay on, but maybe my job is finished at the Titans and I have to move on.

"I don't want to hang around if the Titans don't think I'm adding any more value.

"I think I have a skill set, too, that can help another club. I have learnt so much in my role at the Titans and I think I have something to offer around culture, so why not throw my hat in the ring for a new NRL club?

"I won't set myself in concrete to just a new team, if there's any club out there, I'd be willing to consider a role."

Meninga has previously expressed concerns about the impact of a second Brisbane team on the Titans, but he now believes the NRL competition is ready for expansion.

 

Queensland's prospective teams the Dolphins, Firehawks and Jets have all given assurances they will not operate to undermine the Titans, the NRL's most recent expansionary club formed in 2007.

"Having a fourth team in Queensland is great for the state. It makes a lot of sense," Meninga said. "I have no doubt a fourth team in Queensland would be ideal, we have great support and great numbers, so a second Brisbane team is inevitable really.

"From a Titans perspective, we have to make sure we do everything we can to be in a good position by the time another team comes in.

"It's up to us as a club to get ourselves in a really good position in the south-east corner of Queensland and ensure there are three successful clubs in the region in 2023."

 

 

Originally published as Immortal for hire: Titans face battle to keep Meninga


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