QLD_GCB_SPORT_TITANSPRESEASON
QLD_GCB_SPORT_TITANSPRESEASON

Arrow’s conundrum: $4M or the club you love

The Gold Coast Titans face a fight to retain gladiatorial forward Jai Arrow with the Queensland Origin star seriously considering a $4 million move to Russell Crowe's Rabbitohs.

South Sydney has ramped up its poaching raid after identifying Arrow as the man to replace retired warhorse Sam Burgess and are ready to blow the Titans out of the water with a huge offer.

Rabbitohs officials have outlined to Arrow how he will fit into the club and are formulating a long-term deal worth roughly $800,000 a season, which could stretch up to five years.

The Courier-Mail understands Arrow is torn between chasing an NRL premiership with the Rabbitohs or helping rebuild the battered Titans, a club close to his heart.

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Arrow, 24, is contracted to the Titans until the end of the 2020 season, but is free to sign with a rival club from 2021.

The Titans have held discussions with Arrow's management about a three-year extension, but South Sydney is prepared to make a more attractive offer.

Arrow is a proud Gold Coast product who is reluctant to leave his hometown after joining the Titans from Brisbane before the 2018 NRL season.

However, South Sydney has made it clear he is their No.1 recruitment target and have outlined the club's vision to win a premiership while coach Wayne Bennett is at the helm.

 

Retaining Arrow would be a big achievement for the Titans. Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images
Retaining Arrow would be a big achievement for the Titans. Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images

 

 

The lure of playing for a proven NRL premiership contender is also a factor for the ultra-competitive Arrow after the Titans collected the wooden spoon in 2019.

The Titans on Monday locked up exciting youngster AJ Brimson for the next three years and Arrow is the next piece of their retention puzzle.

But culture chief Mal Meninga has also revealed plans to lure disgruntled Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell to the Gold Coast.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook told The Courier-Mail recently while he wanted Arrow to remain on the Gold Coast it was up to the club's recruitment department to strike a deal.

 

AJ Brimson has already committed his future. Photo: Gold Coast Titans
AJ Brimson has already committed his future. Photo: Gold Coast Titans

 

 

"In terms of re-signing, when's it going to happen and all of that stuff, I can't get too bogged down in that," Holbrook said.

"We've got the recruitment team in place now and that's their main job.

"I've been asked if I want Jai Arrow and AJ (Brimson) to stay, of course I want them to stay. I definitely want them to stay.

"But not to the point where the club is paying way more than anyone else just to keep them because people are saying they can't go.

"They've got to want to be here. We've got to provide an environment where players want to play and do well. That's up to us to fast-track that environment.

"It's about them wanting to see the future of this club and being part of that."

 

Holbrook knows he has his work cut out. Photo: Adam Head
Holbrook knows he has his work cut out. Photo: Adam Head

Arrow made his NRL debut under Bennett at the Broncos in 2016 and is highly-rated by the seven-time premiership winner.

He also has a strong relationship with Bennett's assistant Jason Demetriou, who is tipped to take over the coaching reins at the Rabbitohs when Bennett, 69, steps aside.

Arrow could be the cornerstone of the Titans' forward pack for the next five years if the Gold Coast is able to fight off South Sydney's advances.