Maloney should be Titans' prime target
There are precious few halves on the open market but as the cashed up Titans look for a replacement for Daly Cherry-Evans two former Gold Coast players have called for Rooster James Maloney to become the club's No.1 target.
With young halves in Kane Elgey and Jamal Fogarty coming through the club, the double blow of losing Aidan Sezer and the Cherry-Evans back-flip leaves the Titans extremely light on for playmakers with NRL experience looking towards the 2016 season.
There is a great belief at the club that Elgey is the long-term halfback at the Titans, but at just 21 years of age and in his first year in the NRL it is too much to expect him to play the leading hand in just his second season.
Along with Maloney, the two halfbacks coming off contract at their respective clubs this year with the most NRL experience are Trent Hodkinson (Bulldogs) and Chris Sandow (Eels) but former Titans half Scott Prince says Maloney is the man.
"Out of the halves off contract, James Maloney is definitely one of the guys you'd be chasing," Prince told NRL.com.
"He's solid, he's a competitor and you know what you're going to get from him week in and week out.
"He'll have a crack for you, good kicking game, goal-kicker, which is something that they'll need and he's played close to 150 games.
"I remember Tim Sheens used to say you're not a first-grader until you've played 100 games and he's won a premiership, been in the big league and played Origin so if he's cheaper than [Hodkinson] I'd buy him.
"They just need someone there to look to who can settle the ship a bit. He's experienced but he's still got youth on his side as well, he's not old. You could squeeze a good five or so years out of him."
Former Gold Coast Charger Scott Sattler was also firmly in the Maloney camp as to who the Titans should pursue but also believes there could be a future for Sandow on the Gold Coast, who seems out of favour at his current club Parramatta.
"Kane Elgey is definitely a player you can put a lot of faith that you can build a club around but he needs a partner in crime that's got a bit of experience. It's left the club in a real quandary," said Sattler.
"I would be doing everything I can to get James Maloney. He's a goal-kicker, he's a runner, he's tough and he's probably got that control in his game that would complement Kane Elgey.
"In saying that, it's a really good opportunity to bring Chrissy Sandow back to Queensland. He signed with the Gold Coast back in 2006 and never got the opportunity to actually play in the jersey so I think it's a really good opportunity to bring Chris Sandow back.
"Last week was the most controlled game I've ever seen him play, ever, in his short career. I think he's one of those enigmatic players that if a coach has the ability to tick the right boxes with him he'll deliver for you.
"He's a loveable little character and he engages people very well."
The truth of the matter is that the Titans' belief Cherry-Evans was certain to join them has impacted significantly on their recruitment opportunities with coach Neil Henry insisting he won't be looking at recruiting a half from Super League in England.
The arrival of Cherry-Evans was to trumpet a new era of success for the Titans but despite the back-flip Henry believes the club is in a position to secure further high profile signatures.
"There are a number of halfbacks that haven't signed contracts and high profile ones so we'll just have to see," said Henry. "It certainly does free up a fair bit of money in the cap and we'll have to look at that for the future of the club.
"I'm certain that this club will be an attractive proposition for any player looking for an opportunity at a club that's moving forward and with NRL backing.
"We're going to be here for a long time and I'm confident in the coaching staff we've got, the hard-working board and the commitment we've got in this organisation. I think we'll be attractive for any player."
Both Prince and Sattler said the fact that the Titans have missed out on securing Cherry-Evans at the 11th hour is a massive blow for the club in terms of future on-field performance and marketing opportunities in a competitive environment.
The loss of Nate Myles to Manly also leaves a considerable hole up front and Prince and Sattler both singled out Dave Taylor has a player who must mature into a leader at the club.
"I just think they need to get more out of what they've got," said Prince. "Dave Taylor has got to forget about Origin and just aim up in club-land. Everyone talks about his potential but he just needs to bite the bullet and have a crack.
"We are probably expecting too much out of him but he's just got to play to how everyone knows how he can play and do that on a consistent basis."
Added Sattler: "Dave Taylor might be the guy that needs to move up front.
"It doesn't matter what numbered jersey you've got on your back but maybe he's the one with the body able to play in the middle or play on an edge and do a bit of everything.
"He's at an age now where front-rowers really mature so whether he plays that role we'll have to wait and see."