One of the Titans’ best teenage prospects, Alexander (AJ) Brimson, has rounded off a breakthrough season by taking out the QRL’s Mal Meninga Cup player of the year award.
It was part of a ‘good news-bad news’ week for the utility back who has been ruled out of the Gold Training under-20s’s final match of the season in Townsville against North Queensland Cowboys tomorrow because of an ankle injury.
AJ, who played halfback in the Gold Coast under-19s side that made the Meninga Cup semi-finals, was promoted to the under-20s initially as a halfback but has been playing fullback in recent weeks.
Brimson, a local Gold Coast junior who has impressed since he was elevated to the Titans ranks along with Josh Ralph in the backs, says he was expecting the Queensland under-19s halfback Jerome Burns, now in the Broncos under-20s side, to win the award when he saw him at the awards night.
“I knew I must have been a nominee but when I saw Jerome there I thought he’d get it, as he was the state halfback,” AJ said.
“So it was a surprise, but a great honour too, and I’m just thankful for all the Gold Coast rep coaches and staff and Titans coaches this year who have helped me so much.
“It’s been the biggest rugby league year for my life. Last year I was thinking if play just one game of under-20s this year I’d be over the moon, so this is pretty awesome.
“I’ve tried to work hard and do a bit of extras before training and I suppose I’ve just felt a lot more confident this year.
“Greg Bird [his Meninga Cup assistant coach] has helped me with confidence and kept telling me to back my game and take the line on, which has really helped. And my team coaches Jamie McCormack and Ben Woolf have been tremendous.”
McCormack, also the Titans elite player development unit manager, said:
“AJ is a great talent and had a great year of rugby league. As captain and halfback he led the Gold Coast White side with great control and confidence and was always in our top three players each week.
“And more importantly had the respect of his teammates to follow.
“He has since gone on to play a number of NYC games and has continued to improve as a player even at the higher level.
“His award was well deserved and I'm sure he will be a player to watch for years to come in a Titans jumper.”