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Titans ready for life after Idris

Brad Tighe will add much-needed speed to the Titans outside backs following his move from Penrith. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
He was hailed as the player the club would be built around but Titans coach John Cartwright believes his side's finish to the 2013 season proves that Gold Coast can be successful without Jamal Idris.

In a dramatic few hours on the Gold Coast on Tuesday Idris was granted an immediate release to join the Panthers on a three-year deal while new recruit Maurice Blair was rushed to a court hearing at Southport Magistrates Court where he was fined $400 and had a conviction recorded following an incident in Maryborough on New Year's Eve.

As part of the deal for Idris to join the Panthers on compassionate grounds the Titans were able to secure Penrith centre Brad Tighe on a two-year deal, a player the Titans had previously attempted to lure to the club without success.

Given that Cartwright declared Idris's form last year as the best of his career, the loss of such a strike weapon just four weeks before the club's first trial game in New Zealand could be seen as one capable of derailing the Titans' premiership push in 2014.

But with the additions of Blair, Siuatonga Likiliki and now Tighe, Cartwright is confident that the lessons learned towards the back-end of 2013 while Idris was sidelined with a broken leg will hold them in good stead for the upcoming season.

"I've always had a good relationship with Jamal and I could sense when things weren't quite right with him and it came to a head over the last couple of days. He spoke to me and it just went from there," Cartwright said.

"We've lost a talented player and I think we've brought in a talented player so that's the main thing from our concern.

"I think we've proven in the past, particularly in the last six weeks last year, we have the depth to cover [the loss of Idris]. Initially it was a huge loss to us when he got injured but I think we more than handled the last six weeks of the competition and we've also recruited very heavily in that area.

"Brad Tighe's coming to us, Siuatonga Likiliki, Kalifa [Fai Fai Loa], Davey Mead, they're guys that can all play in the centres.

"We're quite comfortable as far as we are depth-wise there but he is a bit of an x-factor Jamal and when he's fit and firing he's as good as anyone around."

Despite the tumultuous start to his tenure as CEO of the Titans, Graham Annesley was adamant that the departure of Idris would not have an impact on the squad and that the club expected to still have a very competitive season in 2014.

"I don't think there's ever a good time for these sorts of things to happen but the most important thing is that we've got a very settled squad now and this won't have any impact on the squad moving forward," Annesley said. "We've got a replacement player coming in and as far as we're concerned it's full steam ahead.

"That's football. It's never a smooth ride from day one right through to the grand final but we've got the depth, we've got a great club, we've got a great club culture, we've got a great coaching team.

"You can never rely on any particular player being available throughout the year. If Jamal had stayed with us, injury, form, all of those things play a role. You can't build a team around one player, you have to let these things play out as we go through the season. I'm sure we'll have a great year, we're very keen; we can't wait for the games to start."

With speed an issue in the Titans centres for the past couple of seasons, the addition of Tighe may prove to be an astute one. Regarded as one of the fastest players at the Panthers during his six years at the club, Tighe was restricted to just seven NRL games last season due to injury but scored one of the best individual tries of the season against the Rabbitohs, leaving Greg Inglis sprawling on the turf as he cut in from the left to score under the posts.

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