Gold Coast Titans rookie AJ Brimson will undergo shoulder surgery this week with coach Garth Brennan keen to make sure his rising star is fully fit for the start of the 2019 season.
The 20-year-old dislocated his shoulder in the Titans' round 24 win over Manly but bravely battled on in that game and backed up the following week to play against the Cowboys where he also took the field with a fractured hand.
Brimson, who played two years with the Queensland under 20s and with Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup, lined up in 15 NRL games this year at five-eighth and fullback and announced himself as a player of the future.
Brennan told NRL.com he was not prepared to take any risks with Brimson who may face as long as five months of rehab to get himself right for next year's season kick-off.
"He has that dislocation in the second-last round and I spoke to the doctor and said I didn't want to take any risks with AJ and have to manage it through next year, so he's going in to have a tidy-up today or tomorrow so he's ready to go for round one next year," he said.
"Worst case scenario is a five-month turnaround. Even then he will make round one, but we are hoping it will be less than that."
Brennan said he was undecided about whether Brimson would play fullback or in the halves next year. Either way he is set to become an integral part of the club's push to return to finals football.
"AJ is a big part of our plans for the future," Brennan said.
"He's a special kid that I have some real high hopes for. That's why I want him right for next year and ready to go."