David Mead: Why I chose the Broncos
Future Bronco David Mead has denied feeling like a traitor for leaving the Titans for arch rival Brisbane next season, revealing that there was no formal offer tabled by Gold Coast to stay with the club in 2017.
One of the longest-serving members of the Titans and the club's all-time leading try-scorer, Mead advised teammates that he would be joining Brisbane on a one-year deal immediately after the Broncos ended their season in the elimination final last Friday.
He followed that up with an Instagram post on the Saturday morning confirming the move but has declined the opportunity to speak about his decision until now.
Having attracted interest from a number of other NRL clubs and even a Super Rugby franchise, Mead told NRL.com that the history of the Broncos and opportunity to contend for a premiership next season was behind his decision.
"Under the circumstances that I was leaving I didn't really feel like I was a traitor or anything," said Mead. "Nothing formal came up [from the Titans] and Brisbane was the other club that I was really interested in.
"They've had a winning culture for a huge number of years and always been a pretty successful club.
"They've got a good coach up there and some good young halves and good fullback as well so that combination of things was the most appealing to me.
"I would have liked to have won a comp here but because I'm moving up to Brisbane now I'd like to win a comp with them next year.
"That's the ultimate goal and that's what I'd like to achieve up there."
With Jack Reed retiring due to ongoing shoulder problems and Lachlan Maranta switching across the Queensland Reds, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said the acquisition of Mead would complement emerging youngsters such as Tom Opacic and Jonus Pearson out wide.
"David Mead will bring us some immediate experience next year which will be good," Bennett said.
"We've lost a couple out of the backline with Jack going and Lachlan Maranta's going and we were probably a little bit underdone there this year.
"Tom all of a sudden stepped up and Jonus has stepped up as well but they wouldn't have been ready early in the season."
The Brisbane backline lining up against the Cowboys on Friday night is laden with representative talent and Mead is under no illusion that he is guaranteed a place in the 17 for Round 1.
He and his young family will move to Brisbane in the coming months and he says the only way to extend his time at Brisbane is to force his way into the side with a big pre-season and good form in the trials.
"I'm not going up there thinking I'm going to walk straight into the team, I've got to work pretty hard to get into the side," said Mead, who scored 67 tries in 147 games for the Titans, third on the list for most games for the club.
"They've got players there coming through the system who are playing well and a lot of young guys in the outside backs who are playing really well as well.
"Being on the Goldie, I knew there was competition there but I always had the thought that I could make the team. But going up to Brisbane it's a new environment, new players and I know I'm not going to walk straight into the team.
"I'll make sure I have a good pre-season with them and try and get that spot come Round 1. Hopefully I'm playing pretty good football for them to want to re-sign me.
"That's a challenge that I've set for myself as well."
Admittedly disappointed that the Titans refused to discuss a potential contract until after the season had finished, Mead said that he will be forever grateful to the club that handed him an NRL debut back in Round 13, 2009.
"It was disappointing but I knew that they wanted to push things back to the end of the year for all the players," said the 27-year-old.
"That's all right for players that are contracted but for guys who aren't it's not a really good feeling.
"You don't want to get to the end of the season and then have them turn around and say that they're not going to offer anything. You don't want to be stuck in that position.
"It's gone pretty quick, eight years in first grade and one year in 20s. I look back now and can't believe how fast time has gone.
"Ashley Harrison and 'Princey' (Scott Prince) would always tell me to enjoy it because it will go pretty quick and time has gone quick.
"I've enjoyed my time here, it was the club that gave me my opportunity to play first grade so I'll always be grateful for what the club has done for me."
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