New Titans signing Corey Thompson has an opening to have an extended crack at fullback and he intends to give coach Justin Holbrook a big decision to make when AJ Brimson returns.
Thompson’s mid-year signing has come at the perfect time for the 30-year-old and the Titans, now that Brimson is expected to be on the injured list with a back fracture until at least August.
After securing a release from the Wests Tigers, who are playing Adam Doueihi at fullback, Thompson was concussed in his first game for the club against the Rabbitohs.
He recovered in time to play a key role in the 30-12 win over the Broncos and now wants to make the number one jersey his own as he prepares for Saturday’s clash with the Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium.
"It is a great opportunity for me to really play well at fullback and give Justin a good headache when AJ gets back," Thompson told NRL.com
Flair, finesse and freakish finishes
"I know when he does get back he will be really hungry to take the jersey off me, and that is what you want at a club to make the whole squad grow.
"I obviously only got 25 minutes in that first game and to get out that full game against the Broncos at fullback, have a good game myself and get the win for the team was only a positive.
"Going into this week I just want to get more fluent with the team.
"I’ve already noticed how Justin gets on really well with his players and believes in everyone that he picks. They all run out with confidence that the head coach is right behind them."
Thompson has played with plenty of quality halves at the Bulldogs, Widnes and Tigers including Josh Reynolds, Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall.
Forging a close partnership with five-eighth Ash Taylor, who had his best game of the season against Brisbane, is high on his agenda.
"When I was in Sydney I used to enjoy watching Ash carve up and I know when he is confident he can do anything and sets up tries at will," Thompson said.
"I will look to support Ash on his inside and assist him in any way I can because when he is confident the whole team is winning.
"There is a good young core in this squad and I only believe it will be onwards and upwards at the Titans in the years to come.
"The Sharks had a good win over Manly and will be full of confidence on Saturday. When Shaun Johnson is playing well he is one of the best halves in the world so we are going to have our hands full."
Match Highlights: Broncos v Titans
Thompson was on contract with the Tigers until the end of next year but the Titans were able to give him a three-year deal through until the end of 2022.
He was relaxing in the winter sun at his mum’s place in the south of Brisbane when he spoke to NRL.com, a luxury he has missed since his early 20s.
"The Titans gave me that extra year on my contract after I had been away from my family for so long," he said.
"I have been away for eight years and never before had the opportunity to come back to the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
"I played 12 years as a junior at Mt Gravatt in Brisbane and then I went to Souths-Logan and Easts Tigers before leaving for the Bulldogs.
"I loved my time at the Tigers and when I spoke to them about the opportunity I said 'If you say I can’t go then I am here and ready to rip in for the Tigers', but they said yes and I made the move straight away. It was great to leave on such good terms."