The Titans will honour the contribution of Ashley Harrison over seasons when they host the Bulldogs in Round 26. Credit: Col Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos
The Gold Coast Titans will honour one of the club's most loyal servants in Ashley Harrison when they play the Bulldogs in Round 26 but it's not the send-off the 15-season veteran deserves.
That's the view of Titans teammate Dave Taylor who recently attributed his good form in 2014 that has earned a Maroons Origin recall to the influence of senior players such as Harrison and Nate Myles.
Having announced his intention to retire at season's end following Gold Coast's Round 5 win over the Storm in Melbourne, Harrison suffered a fracture to the C6 vertebrae in his neck in Round 9 against the Rabbitohs.
The fracture healed sufficiently for Harrison to take the field against the Storm in Round 14 but after suffering a 'burner' in his left shoulder that forced him from the field and receiving further medical advice that he risked permanent nerve damage by continuing to play, Harrison called time on a career that boasted 276 first grade games and 15 Origin matches for Queensland.
The exact nature of the tribute to Harrison is still to be determined but with a Sunday 3pm kick-off against the Bulldogs to wrap up the regular season on September 7 club officials will be hoping for a big turnout to farewell one of their favourite sons.
"It's just awful for a legend like that to go out that way; you'd have liked to have seen him finish a game and walked a lap with his kids," Taylor told NRL.com.
"I haven't given him a ring or sent him a text yet and I haven't seen him since but I've been wanting to congratulate him.
"He's been one of the toughest players in the NRL and it's just very sad to see him end his career like that. You'd love to give him the rest of the year to go out the true legend that he is."
Sunday, September 7 may well prove to be a milestone day for the club with the only two remaining originals of the inaugural 2007 Titans squad, Mark Minichiello and Luke Bailey, still to finalise their playing futures.
Ahead of his 250th NRL game on Monday night Minichiello indicated his strong desire to keep playing whether at the Titans, elsewhere in the NRL or overseas, while it is believed Bailey will be offered a one-year deal if he wants to push on into a 16th season.