Former Titans fullback Michael Gordon has put his rugby league retirement on hold, returning to the Gold Coast’s playing ranks for a one-off cameo at the NRL Nines at Perth’s HBF Park on February 14-15.
Gordon retired at the end of the 2019 season after 261 NRL games, including 36 for the Titans in two years on the Gold Coast.
The 36-year-old made his NRL debut with Penrith in 2006, before stints at Cronulla, Parramatta and the Roosters.
After – temporarily – hanging up his boots at the end of the season, Gordon joined the Titans’ football staff as a specialist coach working with the Club’s outside backs, under Head Coach Justin Holbrook.
Gordon said while he is excited about pulling on the Titans jersey again, he was most looking forward to seeing the squad perform after an excellent pre-season of work under new Head Coach Justin Holbrook and assistants Jim Dymock and Jim Lenihan.
“I am really excited by that. They have been training their backsides off, and obviously there is a new coach and new staff, and there is a new buzz around the joint,” Gordon said.
“I am very interested to see how the boys shape up because they are looking really good, but you never know until you get out there into the game.
“It was me and JD (Jim Dymock) that tossed a coin (to play in the Nines). I said ‘Mate, I’m a bit younger, a bit fresher, so I will take one for the coaching staff’.
“Obviously I am pretty excited. Nines was always a great competition, and it has been a few years since it has been on, so it is good to be a part of it.”
Gordon joked his role in the Titans’ game plan would be “team motivator”, but he said he was determined to play a role for the Gold Coast without getting in the way of some of the Club’s rising stars.
“You see every team takes over a mix of young blokes and some experienced players,” Gordon said. “It is usually the unknown players that end up standing out in the competition.
“It is always good to give young blokes an opportunity, and to see what they have done. They have been training hard, let them go out and play.
“There are only two games in a pool this year, so it will be slightly different. I suppose it will depend how those two games turn out, because we are taking a decent squad over there and I don’t want to get in the way of any of the young boys having a crack.
“We will see how the two days pan out, and we will go from there.”
Gordon said he had made an easy transition into retirement by keeping a hand in football with his role on Holbrook’s staff, and had kept up his fitness in order to keep his promise to his junior club, the Tweed Coast Raiders, for a farewell season in lime green after his NRL days were over.
“I just have to work on my speed work a little bit,” he said. “I have been training with the staff every morning, and they are keeping me in shape.
“It has been pretty easy for me. I am just helping out the two Jimmys and Justin obviously.
“We have some great new staff in all areas. It has been exciting. It sort of makes me miss (playing) watching how well they have been training and the level of detail that Justin has brought.
“It has been really exciting to watch them train and grab all the new knowledge with both hands.
“They are looking really good, and I am just excited to see them play.”