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Depth debate: Halves

The Gold Coast Titans halves combination appears set in stone, but has a rookie's late season dash thrown him into contention?

Is another shift looming as other players emerge as contending playmakers? dives into the Titans halves discussion, dissecting who is in contention to command the Titans playmaking positions.

Kieran Foran

Age: 33 | Appearances: 282

As Foran enters his 16th NRL season, it seems inevitable the most experienced man on the roster will assume his starting spot at five-eighth.

With his former coach Des Hasler arriving at the club, the 2024 NRL season will mark the sixth year that Foran and Des will combine for the same team.

Having coached Foran through finals series and a premiership winning season, Hasler will waste no time utilising the full capacity of 282-game veteran’s experience and leadership this year.

But after an extremely impressive performance at hooker for New Zealand in a winning Pacific Championship campaign last year, could Des and the Titans coaching squad look to emulate this form with a shift to number nine for Foran?

Tanah Boyd

Age: 23 | Appearances: 60

After undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery late last season, incumbent halfback Tanah Boyd has had a stellar pre-season campaign under new head coach Des Hasler. 

Tanah fought off tough opposition early last year to claim the number seven jersey, and early reports indicate he has no intention of letting it go this year.

Across 21 games in 2023, Boyd collected 8 try assists, 18 forced drop outs and averaged 435 kicking metres per game.

Boyd’s boot further secured 69 goals across the season at a 80.23% conversion rate.

With several young halves pushing for selection in the starting side, Boyd says the competition will only elevate his and the team's performance.

"You've got to have that to be successful and we've got blokes fighting for spots everywhere, so it's really good for us."

Tom Weaver

Age: 20 | Appearances: 3

When Tanah Boyd went down with injury last season, it was young star Tom Weaver who received the call up to don the no. 7 jersey.

His first game was certainly a baptism of fire, as the 20-year-old squared up against Nathan Cleary - who just weeks later would go on to be crowned Dally M player of the year and win his third consecutive premiership with the Panthers. 

The Tweed Seagulls junior took on the assignment with his chest out and left everything on the field in a brave and narrow defeat to the Panthers, earning high praise from Cleary as a result.

"After the way it ended for me last year and getting to debut, I definitely want to put my best foot forward for that No. 7 jersey."

In his 3 games last season, Weaver averaged 491 kicking metres per game, and made 48 tackles, consistently showing glimpses of his potential.

Finishing 2023 with three appearances, Weaver has become a genuine contender for the halfback spot. 

AJ Brimson

Age: 25 | Appearances: 99

With a move to the centres seemingly confirmed, many have speculated that AJ Brimson's skills would be put to better use in the halves.

And surprisingly, the Origin star's positional resume suggest that this speculation isn't without merit. 

Brimson has played almost a third of his career in the halves, with 30 out of his 99 games played at five-eighth for the Gold Coast Titans (most of which were early in his career).

Behind Foran and Boyd, this makes AJ the third most experience playmaker on the roster.

Unfortunately for AJ, injury has hampered his progression in the halves, but his lightning turn of foot and smart supporting play remain as earmarks for a potential return to playmaking. 

Jayden Campbell

Age: 23 | Appearances: 43  

There is no doubt that Jayden Campbell is an X-factor player, but as to where this X-factor could be best utilised is an ongoing debate for Titans fans. 

With AJ Brimson's move to the centres seemingly confirmed, Jayden still has tough opposition to lock down the fullback role.

With so many young stars emerging, Campbell's game winning skills could prove an invaluable asset in the halves where he would receive more ball-in-hand than other backline positions. 

JC is also no stranger to the halves, having played five-eighth three times last year, including a standout performance in Titans 28-12 win against the West Tigers in round 15.

Super Campbell swoops in

Many would argue that Campbell could play any backline position and still deliver his game-changing edge, but the question remains in which position could his best football be played?

Who do you think should be in the halves for Round 1 against the Dragons?

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Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.