McQueen keen to commit to Titans
He may have been reluctant to depart Redfern nine months ago but such has been the turnaround in fortunes of the Gold Coast Titans that back-rower Chris McQueen is keen to extend his stay at the club beyond next season.
At a time when most NRL clubs had finalised their roster for the 2016 season McQueen only became a Titan in mid-December when he was squeezed out of South Sydney to facilitate the return of Sam Burgess.
The 2014 premiership winner and Origin forward was considered the Gold Coast's most high profile recruit of the summer but merely served as a pre-cursor to further late additions in John Olive, Nathan Peats, Konrad Hurrell and Jarryd Hayne.
The Titans have also secured the services of England international Dan Sarginson and Queensland Emerging Origin prop Jarrod Wallace to give the club a much brighter outlook in the short-term than McQueen could possibly have imagined when he signed.
With the Titans still in finals contention and the Rabbitohs languishing in 14th position, the 29-year-old is eager to explore the possibility of finishing his career on the Gold Coast.
"I still feel like I've got a few good years in front of me but I have no intention of leaving as long as Gold Coast wanted me," McQueen said ahead of the must-win clash with the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
"I'm back in Queensland and I'm really enjoying it here.
"I'm off contract at the end of next year but certainly staying on and being here for the long haul and helping build this club up to be a really competitive team is something that I want to do.
"[Contract talks] probably won't happen until early next year but that's something that when we come back after Christmas and start to get into next year's season that's something I'll be getting on to pretty quickly.
"I wasn't reluctant to come here but certainly when I got the tap on the shoulder to leave Souths it was disappointing and it wasn't something that I was thrilled about.
"To see during that pre-season when we were wooden spoon favourites and to see the way the boys have come together and managed to pick up a few other players – some pretty big name players too – it's definitely in hindsight made my decision to leave Souths a really good one."
McQueen's form in the past six weeks has been a key factor in the Titans' late-season resurgence but he credits the overall development of the team as a reason he is back playing near the best of his ability.
He has scored five tries in his past six games and as the most experienced finals campaigner amongst Titans players said it is crucial they don't let a top-eight opportunity pass them by.
Despite starting the season as clear favourites to finish at the foot of the ladder, McQueen insists that the season will be viewed as a failure by those within the club if they fall short of finals football.
"A lot of people probably wouldn't think so but as a playing group and if you ask our coaching staff I think they'd say yes," McQueen said when asked whether the year would be viewed as a failure if they miss the top eight.
"We're in a position now where all we have to do is win games of footy and we'll make the eight.
"There's not long left in the season and we're sitting in a pretty good position at the moment so if you ask any of the players or the coaching staff they'd definitely say it's a failure if we don't make the eight.
"We're aware that we pretty much need to and want to win all of our games. We're in that middle part of the ladder where one more loss would probably see our season over.
"We're aware that we've got some pretty big games coming up but we're excited for it.
"At the moment we're still in control as long as we win games but we can't afford another loss because then it will come down to relying on other teams to get results to help our cause."