Decision looming on Mead's future
The playing future of Titans fullback David Mead could be decided as early as next week and it is looking more and more likely that he will be at a new club from 2017.
The Titans' all-time leading try-scorer will move alongside co-captain William Zillman as the club's third most capped player when he takes to the field against the Eels on Saturday evening at Cbus Super Stadium in what will be his 141st game for the Titans.
Mead's manager, Anthony Coorey, has put forward a figure to the Titans which he believes is fair for a player capable of playing fullback and wing and is now awaiting a response which could come as early as later this week.
There are four other NRL clubs also interested in Mead's services and the 27-year-old said the prospect of playing in a premiership-winning team and the culture of the club are the most important factors in the decision he will make.
Speaking at the launch of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane on Tuesday representing the Kumuls team that he captained in May, Mead said that he is hopeful a resolution regarding his playing future is not far away.
"My manager is still talking to several clubs but I think it will be in the next couple of weeks that we'll find out," Mead told NRL.com.
"The Titans are definitely still in the mix – he's been talking to them the past couple of weeks – so hopefully things can move forward pretty soon."
Mead's future on the Gold Coast may come down to whether other players can be moved on before their current contracts expire.
Zillman and Josh Hoffman have reportedly both been told that they can seek new deals at other clubs despite being contracted for 2017 and coach Neil Henry said that with the players currently on the books finding a place for Mead may be problematic.
The mid-season arrival of Konrad Hurrell, signing of England international Dan Sarginson, extended contract for Anthony Don and the emergence of youngsters such as Brian Kelly, Greg Leleisiuao and Karl Lawton is giving Henry little room to move in the outside backs.
"It's a difficult one with the [salary] cap," Henry said.
"We've still got 'Hoffy' and 'Zilly' contracted and you've got young players such as Kelly, Nathan Davis, Karl Lawton, John Olive and then you've also got Dan Sarginson and Konrad Hurrell. Anthony Don is done.
"You look into the mix and say where does he fit there? He fits because he's a quality player, there's no doubt about that, but you've got to fit it around the cap as well.
"We'll wait and see what he comes back to us with and if we can be competitive we'd like to keep him but if we can't be competitive I'd imagine he'd go."
A major sticking point in negotiations is whether Mead can demand the salary of an NRL fullback when he is not guaranteed of playing there on a weekly basis.
Only 22 of his 140 career games to date have been played at fullback with the Titans winning half of the games in which he has appeared in the No.1 jersey.
Coorey indicated to NRL.com that should the Titans accept the current offer on the table that Mead would be the lowest paid fullback in the NRL but that it is a position he would like to play more in the coming years.
Mead played 12 games for the Titans' under-20s in the inaugural NYC season in 2008 before going on to make his NRL debut in Round 13, 2009, scoring five tries in his first four games in the top grade.