Greenwood given green light to weigh up his future

Greenwood given green light to weigh up his future

Gold Coast have given English import Joe Greenwood permission to look at his options elsewhere after the Neil Henry signing has slipped so far down Garth Brennan's pecking order he is playing off the bench in the Titans' feeder team, Burleigh Bears.

Several English Super League clubs have shown interest in the 25-year-old from St Helens, who signed a three-year deal in a direct swap with Zeb Taia two weeks before the start of last season.

However, the rangy back-rower – signed by Henry as a development player on a budget contract believed to be less than $200,000 season - wants to stay on get the chance to prove he is good enough to remain in the NRL.

Greenwood, one of the most popular players in the Titans squad, played 22 matches in 2017 but has failed to be selected in the 17-man NRL playing squad across the first nine rounds this season.

Additionally, Greenwood has not been selected in Brennan's weekly initial 21-man squad since round three.

His demotion has led to genuine interest from several British clubs for a player who was in Wayne Bennett's World Cup squad until it was cut back to 24 players weeks before last year's tournament.

Now it is left to see how long Greenwood wants to fight and wait for a chance despite limited opportunities in the Intrust Super Cup with the competition leaders.

Former NRL player Blake Leary and ex-Titans under-20s player Hayden Schwass have been chosen ahead of Greenwood in the Bears' second row in all but one match when Leary was injured, forcing Greenwood to the bench where he has averaged 39 minutes a game.

Titans forward Joe Greenwood.
Titans forward Joe Greenwood. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Brennan today applauded Greenwood's fighting attitude and claimed the forward remains in his plans.

However, the reality is that a full-time squad member who is behind two uncontracted Titans players in the reserve grade squad shows where Greenwood currently stands.

"We have had a couple of English clubs show interest and have said to Joe that if there was a good opportunity he wanted to pursue, we would be happy to let him go," Titans head of football Phil Moss said.

"He has aspirations of playing for England but Garth (Brennan) has been honest with him and he's behind the eight-ball currently here."

Greenwood showed some glimpses of his potential last year as a left-edge running back-rower.

However, Will Matthews has been preferred as Kevin Proctor's second row partner in 2018 and Bryce Cartwright is next in line as an edge player.

"At this stage Joe is in our plans and he has to just bide his time where he is," Brennan said.

"It is about grabbing the opportunity when it arises. When you have players of the calibre of Kevin Proctor on one edge, we have picked Ryan James there a little bit and Will Matthews has been very good on that edge too.

Joe Greenwood when playing for St Helens.
Joe Greenwood when playing for St Helens.

"It is a matter of Joey having to wait for his opportunities. He's a great guy and he is certainly not getting pushed out of the club by us.

"If he wants to stay around and back himself then that's great. It's great to hear from me as a coach a player willing to back himself.

"Like everyone else he will judged on how he performs each week and if he gets the opportunity I'm sure Joe will grab it."

Another aspect of the situation is that the Titans only have 28 players in the required top 30 squad and if Greenwood was to return home, it would leave three vacant spots that would have to be filled although it would free up some salary cap space.