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Preston returns to Titans as Holbrook weighs up trial conundrum

Former Dally M medallist Preston Campbell has returned to the Titans in a specialist role just weeks after his son, Jayden, signed a development deal with the club.

Campbell was the Titans' inaugural signing in 2007 and will work with the club in "a number of areas", according to coach Justin Holbrook on Monday.

The 43-year-old Indigenous icon retired in 2011 after 267 first-grade games, which included 103 for the Titans, and has been vocal around the side's performances in recent years.

Campbell told in 2019 he was desperate to see the club return to their winning ways while building a stronger connection with the community.

"He's rejoining the club, it's still being worked through but it's great to have him out there on the field," Holbrook said.

"I'm not sure around all the details with little Presto but it's great to have the first player signed for the Titans around the boys.

Preston Campbell was a foundation player at the Titans.
Preston Campbell was a foundation player at the Titans. ©NRL Photos

"He'll be working with the club in a number of areas."

Holbrook said he was "really happy" with how the new-look squad and coaching staff had come together after significant player turnover last year.

The Titans coach will spend the next month working on a plan for the club's only trial against the Warriors in Lismore on February 27.

Mindful of the fact the two sides will meet again in round one, Holbrook will be wary of playing his squad at full strength.

"It is a bit awkward playing the same side twice but with trials you lock it in a year in advance so you're not to know who you'll play in round one," Holbrook said.

"It's not ideal when you're only playing the one trial but it's too late to change that.

"We'll have a look at that but the main thing is you want a good, hard hit-out. A lot of our forwards will play for match fitness but a lot of our main guys won't play.

"It will be a good test because it is our only trial. There are spots up for grabs, it's not like you can play half-hearted.

"The Warriors have got some big expectations themselves."

Meanwhile, Holbrook laughed when told he spent the afternoon watching an under-19 Titans trial in Coffs Harbour with another onlooker – Storm legend Cameron Smith – on Saturday.

The Titans have naturally been linked to Smith in recent months with the champion hooker understood to be living on the Gold Coast with his family as he weighs up his future.

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Smith was with former Storm teammate Matt Geyer, whose son Cole is in the Titans' junior system, but Holbrook maintains there had been no dialogue between parties.

"There were that many people there I didn't get to see him but heard he was down there," Holbrook said.

"I didn't get a chance to say hello. I have not spoken to him."

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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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