Titans coach Garth Brennan says releasing club favourite Konrad Hurrell to Leeds Rhinos has "rocked and rattled" him while conceding the lucrative offer from the Super League powerhouse was one the rampaging centre could not refuse.
The 27-year-old Tongan international has been released by mutual agreement with the club from the final season of his Titans deal to join Leeds for three years, but it was a decision that has hit Brennan hard because of the esteem he holds Hurrell in. Brennan has been on holidays in the US for the last fortnight and said the first he had heard of Hurrell's request was on Wednesday.
"It is the hardest thing for me to do as a coach so far. It is something that has rocked me and rattled me a bit because I rate him so highly and I am a massive fan of Konrad's," Brennan told NRL.com.
"I wanted him to stay next year personally but I understand that he has got to look after his family and he has a big offer over there in Super League that we can't compete with.
"It is a case of him having too good an offer. It is a business decision more than anything else.
"I haven't spoken to Konnie because he is in camp with the Tongan side. It has been done through his manager and the club.
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"We didn't shop him around or contribute to the leave. It is just a case of him securing his future for a lengthy period of time with a lucrative deal at a successful club like Leeds."
Brennan had no doubt that Hurrell would be a hit in Super League.
"He'll kill it," Brennan said.
"He's a quality player in the NRL. That's why selfishly I would say 'no' and that's he's not allowed to leave, but it would be unfair for me to hold him back for 12 months without being able to match the offer that he has got beyond ."
Brennan said Hurrell's smile was infectious and that what he brought on and off the field had made him a popular and integral member of the club.
Those sentiments were endorsed by club chairman Dennis Watt.
"I know Konrad is a favourite amongst our members and fans but this decision has been made in the best interest of all parties," Watt said.
"We wish Konrad and his partner, Bec, all the best for the future."
Brennan said the club was well served for centres and that he had several options for 2019.
"We've got Tyrone Peachey, Dale Copley and Brenko Lee and Phil Sami can play centre so we certainly have coverage in that area," he said.
"But there aren't too many bullocking centres like Konnie Hurrell in the NRL and he can certainly be devastating on his day."
Hurrell played 45 NRL games for the Titans and has 116 top grade games to his credit after making his debut for the New Zealand Warriors back in 2012.