Mal Meninga has claimed a big win for the Titans. Picture: AAP
Mal Meninga has claimed a big win for the Titans. Picture: AAP

Titans beat Sydney NRL rivals to snare young gun

Titans culture chief Mal Meninga has struck the first successful blow in his pledge to keep local products on the Gold Coast by staving off Sydney clubs to snare halfback young gun Toby Sexton.

Meninga said a fortnight ago that the days of other NRL clubs raiding the Gold Coast were over and he has secured Queensland under-18s playmaker Sexton to a three-year, $300,000 contract.

Sexton was off-contract with the Bulldogs and the Sharks were so keen on the Palm Beach Currumbin playmaker that Cronulla premiership halfback Chad Townsend spoke to him in a bid to lure the teenager to "the Shire".

Sexton on Sunday pledged his future to the Titans after meeting with recruitment chief Ezra Howe and Meninga, who is determined to stem the talent drain that saw Broncos sensation Payne Haas quit the club four years ago.


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Toby Sexton has pledged his future to the Titans. Picture: Jerad Williams
Toby Sexton has pledged his future to the Titans. Picture: Jerad Williams


The 18-year-old Australian Schoolboys star will join the Titans' full-time NRL squad next season either as an understudy to Ash Taylor or possible scrumbase partner for Gold Coast's $1 million halfback.

"It's a real coup for the Titans," said Sexton's manager Tas Bartlett.

"Toby had some interest from Sydney and he seriously considered the Sharks, but after meeting with Mal and Ezra, he was really impressed with their vision for the Titans.

"He's a Gold Coast kid so the opportunity to stay close to his family and play NRL for the Titans was too good to refuse."

At PBC last year, Sexton rubbed shoulders with halfback sensation Tom Dearden, who made his NRL debut for the Broncos this year aged 18, and six weeks ago, Sexton was named in the Australian Schoolboys squad alongside boom Sydney Roosters recruit Sam Walker.

In May, Sexton was man of the match in Tweed Heads' 48-14 thumping of Illawarra in the national under-18s final, scoring 20 points from a try and eight goals.

The Titans have previously lost the likes of Haas and Chooks premiership pivot Luke Keary, who was rejected by the Gold Coast under-20s.

"Before coming to the Titans, I could never understand why so many of the best young players that our region consistently produces ended up playing at other clubs," Meninga said recently.

"The first thing we needed to do to make sure these talented kids were kept on the Gold Coast was to improve the quality of our recruitment team, and implement the programs and systems we needed to give these kids the pathway they craved to go all the way to the NRL.

"Previously, Gold Coast kids had to go to other clubs to get these pathways.

"But not anymore.

"The Titans will no longer miss out on the best kids being produced in the Gold Coast nursery."

News Corp Australia

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