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Titans forward pens deal with Eels

Titans forward pens deal with Eels
The player turnover at the Titans has continued with back-rower Cody Nelson signing a two-year deal to join Parramatta from 2015.

With contract negotiations on hold until a successor for former coach John Cartwright is announced, Nelson said the opportunity to secure his immediate future and take on a new challenge was too enticing.

He joins a departure lounge on the Gold Coast that includes veterans Ashley Harrison and Mark Minichiello with a decision on Luke Bailey's future unclear until a new coach is appointed following the mid-season exit of John Cartwright.

"It's been a bit of a process but the Titans put negotiations on hold with the [internal] review that's been going on and I had to make a decision and decided that Parra was the best option for me," Nelson told NRL.com.

"The biggest thing was with the Titans. They've got Dave [Taylor], 'Birdy' (Greg Bird) and Nate [Myles] so they've got Origin and Australian players in the back row and happen to be in my position so the opportunity is very hard to come by up here and unless you get injuries and stuff like we have now it's a very hard team to get into.

"There are some guys down there playing some very good footy to have them in the hunt for the finals so I don't expect to go down there and walk into the team. I'll have to dig in in the pre-season and hopefully I can show Brad Arthur something to make him pick me in the team."

Fighting back is nothing new for Nelson who at 25 years of age has had to endure a host of serious injuries and then in July had his first grade spot taken away from him following an investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit into a bet placed on a Titans game in 2013.

In a statement released by the club Nelson explained that it was a bet made by a mate on his phone as he began the early stages of recuperation following a knee reconstruction but says the lesson learned will be long lasting.

"It was something that I'll just have to put down as a learning experience and it will certainly never happen again. What made it really hard to take was the fact that I'd just played two games back to back and I was trying to push for my place in that 17 and then I had to cop two weeks on the sideline," said Nelson, who only made his NRL debut in Round 8 this year and has since played seven top-grade games.

"It couldn't get any worse than that. With all that my body has been through with injuries and that and my body's good and I was playing consistent footy week in and week out, giving it a good crack and pushing to be in the 17 each week and then you get a little setback like that... It's tough but I've had a few bad things happen to me in my life so you get used to getting back up after the worst has happened."

Nelson's list of injuries since being spotted by Titans foundation coach John Cartwright as a 16-yearold almost 10 years ago reads more like a biology exam than a rugby league player's bio.

After 14 games in the under-20s in 2008 he suffered osteitis pubis and missed the remainder of the season; returned in the Intrust Super Cup the following season and missed 10 weeks with a dislocated collarbone, dislocating his kneecap three weeks back from that injury.

A full ankle reconstruction followed early in the next season and then at the end of a successful season with Tweed Heads in 2011 Nelson had to have surgery on his hip. An ACL injury in the 2013 pre-season placed further pressure on achieving his dream of playing in the NRL but he says the support of friends and family in his home town of Mullumbimby got him through.

"I couldn't thank my family enough for the support they've given me. Mum especially always told me to never give up on my dreams and that I should always pursue what made my happiest and my dream was to always play in the NRL and thankfully I got that opportunity this year," said Nelson.

"I'm lucky in that home at Mullumbimby is only just down the road but when you're getting injured and playing Queensland Cup and when you're not in first grade you definitely question yourself."

The only question now for Nelson is whether the self-confessed country boy can handle life in the big smoke.

"[The decision to leave the Titans] was very tough. I obviously grew up just down the road from the coast and to move away from family and friends is going to be a big move for me but something that I'm pretty excited about," said Nelson, who will be joined in the move by fiancée Elna.

"[My friends and family] are all excited. They obviously watch a fair bit of footy and think that I've got a good opportunity to go down to Parra. It's a developing club with a new coach and they look like they're on the right track so it could be good times ahead down there."
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