Wallace admits contract stand-off took a personal toll
Titans prop Jarrod Wallace admits the contract stand-off around the biggest decision of his career took a toll on his form before inking a lucrative three-year extension with his junior club.
On Monday afternoon the Gold Coast announced Wallace's re-signing until the end of 2022 on a deal understood to be worth in excess of $600,000 a season.
Coach Garth Brennan had issued a deadline on that offer as Wallace's future began to dominate headlines, with the 26-year-old spotted meeting with Knights officials in Newcastle last week after sounding the Broncos about a possible return to Red Hill.
Wallace has taken up his player option for 2019 as well as the longer commitment that will see him stay at the Titans until the age of 31.
The Maroons incumbent conceded the ongoing speculation around his future had affected both his family and his own form, with Wallace struggling at times to match the impressive performances of his breakout 2017 season.
"This was a big contract for me – it's four years and it'll take me to the back end of my career, so it's a huge deal for me," Wallace told Titans TV.
"It wasn't like I was 21 and it was just a simple decision to make by myself. I had a lot of things to factor into it. I tried not to let it affect me, but it did a little bit. I feel like it probably affected my game a little bit.
"…My family wasn't real happy with it – getting things written in the paper that I'm only looking because I want more money and things like that which just isn't true.
"My family's my most important thing, my girls are my most important thing and my partner's got a career I've got to look at too.
"At the end of the day I was doing the best for me and my family and I was sorting all that out first before I made any football decisions.
"I'm just really thankful it's all done now and we can move past it and not see it on the back page every day."
Despite Wallace and club captain Ryan James being tied up as the Titans long term forward, the club is not necessarily out of the race for Raiders big man Shannon Boyd.
The 2016 Kangaroos tourist has fielded interest from Newcastle and an offer from the Gold Coast, who maintain they have the salary cap space to accommodate both Boyd and Wallace's bumped up contract.
With Brennan in his first year on the Coast and key men Ash Taylor, James, Jai Arrow, Morgan Boyle and Nathan Peats committed until the end of 2020, Wallace shapes as a critical pillar in the club's rebuild.
"I'm really thankful the club's got faith in me to sign me for four years," Wallace said.
"I know it's a big deal and I'm really excited to pay back the gratitude that I owe to them now.
"…Hopefully we can build a legacy over the next four years that we're a form side in the top four and the top eight every year with possibly a premiership.
"I just want to be a week-in, week-out contender. I know that we can do that, we're building really well so hopefully a premiership's in sight there, that'd be exciting."