Presto's heir apparent urges retirement rethink

Gold Coast winger William Zillman has urged ageing fullback Preston Campbell to play on beyond 2010 after his Titans team-mate hinted at retirement should the Titans win their maiden premiership next Sunday night.<br><br>Campbell signed a new two-year deal with the club in June but admitted earlier this week that he would almost certainly call it quits at the end of the year if he is able to go out on a high.<br><br>The 33-year-old pointed to the brilliant performance of Zillman in the Gold Coast’s opening semi-final against the Warriors two weeks ago as evidence that the club is in good hands, but Zillman told NRL.com that his mentor still had plenty to offer beyond this season.<br><br>“If anything he seems to keep getting better,” Zillman said. “Obviously that’s a decision he has to make and we’d all love to go out as winners but the way he trains and plays, he looks like he could play for another 10 years.<br><br>“For him to come out and say he might retire came as a bit of a surprise to me, to be honest. He is such a fantastic player and he hasn’t taken a backwards step the older he gets.”<br><br>While Zillman is the obvious choice to adopt the No.1 jersey in the future, the former Canberra Raiders rookie insisted he wasn’t eyeing Campbell’s spot just yet.<br><br>“No, no – I’m just going about my own thing,” he said. “It makes me feel a bit funny actually (that Campbell singled him out). <br><br>“He is such an asset to the team and we all love him being part of it… It doesn’t really bother me… I’m not too fussed on where I’m playing – as long as I’m playing NRL.”<br><br>Zillman is used to biding his time.<br><br>As the ‘wunderkind’ coming through the ranks at the Raiders he was supposed to be the man to lead Canberra back into glory days but after two years waiting in the wings behind Clinton Schifcofske, his NRL career was put on hold by a series of serious knee injuries.<br><br>After two knee reconstructions in 2007 and 2008, his run of misfortune forced him into a change of scenery and a move north to the Gold Coast – although he says that those woes taught him the value of patience.<br><br>“I sort of look at every opportunity I get as a blessing,” he said. “I think that’s an important frame of mind to have. <br><br>“I just have to take my opportunities, and I’m lucky enough to be in the team. No matter what position it is, I’m going to play my hardest wherever I’m put.”<br><br>The move has been good for Zillman, too. His debut season for the Titans, in 2009, proved to be somewhat of a breakthrough year for the then 23-year-old, with 22 appearances in the top grade – and he now finds himself just 80 minutes away from an NRL grand final.<br><br>“I’ve definitely come a long way since coming here,” Zillman said. “Being coached by John Cartwright, I’ve learnt a lot off him and also having guys like Scotty Prince and Mat Rogers who have so much experience has been good.”<br><br>First, however, comes a date with the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium tonight – a mouthwatering clash that Zillman describes as easily the biggest moment of his burgeoning career.<br><br>“There is no doubt about that,” he said. “Last year was the first finals series I played in and we went out in ‘straight sets’. <br><br>“It’s been good to make it this far this year – and it would be unbelievable to make the grand final.<br><br>“But the Roosters are playing some good football and it won’t be easy.”<br><br>Zillman pointed to the Roosters’ ability to score points from long distance (they rank second behind Wests Tigers for tries from inside their own half) as a danger to be wary of.<br><br>“They’ve got a number of good attacking strike weapons right across the park and they can hurt you if you lose concentration,” he said. <br><br>“You really can’t switch off for one minute because they’re going to find you out.”