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Titans join Coates pursuit as Broncos table retention bid

The Gold Coast are the latest club in pursuit of Broncos speedster Xavier Coates after Brisbane tabled an upgraded contract in a bid to keep circling rivals at bay.

As first reported by the Gold Coast Bulletin, the Titans have joined the pursuit of recent Maroons debutant Coates, who has been able to field official rival offers since November 1. understands that the Broncos have put forward an upgraded deal to keep Coates at Red Hill under new coach Kevin Walters, though it is unclear how many years the offer entailed.

The 19-year-old is yet to enter formal negotiations with any party and is in no rush to make a call on his future after meeting with Storm and Cowboys coaches Craig Bellamy and Todd Payten before Christmas.

While Coates is weighing up his options, he won't make any call on his future until experiencing a pre-season under new Broncos coach Kevin Walters, having only returned to training on Monday.

He has by no means ruled out staying at Red Hill, and Brisbane are loath to lose their only Queensland Origin representative from a dismal 2020 campaign.

Analysing the Broncos' 2021 draw

Coates is yet to meet with Gold Coast officials or coach Justin Holbrook.

A PNG international having been born in Port Morseby, Coates grew up on the Gold Coast and played junior footy at Currumbin Eagles and Tweed Heads Seagulls.

Meanwhile the Titans star signing David Fifita returned to training on Tuesday without further sanction regarding his arrest last month. 

A Gold Coast official confirmed the club's marquee recruit did not face any further disciplinary action over his arrest on December 27.

Fifita was arrested by Broadbeach police following allegations of trespassing at a Gold Coast home but was not charged over the incident and was issued with an adult caution.

Holbrook confirmed the issue had been "resolved" as Fifita returns to full training after a syndesmosis injury ruled him out of last November's Origin series.

"It's fine. It's been dealt with and he's right, he's training," Holbrook said.

"It's always hard when you're a player in rehab but he's done a great job. He's integrated into the full squad now and he's doing a great job."   

Fellow big-name recruit Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is slated to join Titans training next week, while playmakers Ash Taylor (hip/wrist) and AJ Brimson (Lisfranc fracture) are both on track to play trial matches after off-season surgery.

While the club is in the mix for both Coates and Melbourne star Brandon Smith from 2022, Holbrook once more distanced the Gold Coast from links to champion hooker Cameron Smith.

Analysing the Titans' 2021 draw

A day after Melbourne returned to training and began preparing for life without their iconic skipper, Holbrook said the Titans were doing the same given he has had no discussions with the 37-year-old.

Smith's family has been based on the Gold Coast after relocating during Melbourne's pandemic lockdown, fuelling suggestions of a Titans swansong.

"Everyone talks about the convenience of the fact that he's obviously moving here and the kids are going to school here, so I understand the heavy speculation around it but that's all it is," Holbrook said.

'I'm happy with who we've got and if things change and all of a sudden he's desperate to play and we can fit him in all that, well then we'll have a conversation.

"At the moment, the fact [is] we haven't spoken to him and I'm happy with who we've got if it changes, it changes but we've got no plan of it changing.

"As of now I don't think anyone's spoken to him, it's running out of time.

"I haven’t got any further update on Cam Smith and us. We haven’t planned on having him here."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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