Titans forward Jai Whitbread will remain on the Gold Coast until at least the end of the 2021 season, after this week signing a two-year contract extension with the Titans.
The 21-year-old played under-20s for the Brisbane Broncos, but was lured home at the start of 2018 by the opportunity of a full-time contract and the chance to be closer to family.
The Tweed Bears junior was rewarded with his NRL debut in Round 18 of last year, but has become a more regular fixture in the Titans’ top side this season, playing six NRL games.
Whitbread said he was pleased to be staying “home” with the Titans for the next two years.
“It’s a very exciting time, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity the club has given me to extend my stay here for another two years,” Whitbread said.
“I believe I’ve developed as a player, with the help of the coaches and high-performance staff.
“Being home has helped me enjoy my footy that little bit more, and getting to play first-grade footy in front of my family and friends is a dream come true.
“It’s great to have re-signed at a club that I’m loving being at, and I’m really looking forward to the next two years."
Titans coach Garth Brennan is impressed with Whitbread’s development and is happy the local junior has chosen to stay with the club.
“Jai started with the club at the same time as I did, and he is a young kid who has impressed me across every facet of the game,” Brennan said.
“His work ethic and attention to detail during training and game preparation is to be applauded and he is now reaping the benefits as part of our NRL side.
“Jai is an example of what I want to develop here on the Gold Coast. I want to produce home-grown NRL talent and turn the Titans into a genuine development club.
“He has matured as a player, and it’s good news for the club that he has chosen to remain a Titan for the next two years.”