The struggling Titans have reportedly offered Broncos young gun David Fifita the richest deal in NRL history to lure him from the also struggling Broncos, who have lost six straight games – and Fifita is torn on who to go with.
Gold Coast Titans are waiting on clarity from the NRL over potential compensation in their 32-man squad while Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly are stood down.
Titans culture manager Mal Meninga said the club has been disadvantaged by having just 30 players in their training squad while the duo are stood down for not accepting a flu vaccination.
Cartwright and Kelly have not trained with the NRL squad since the Queensland government held firm on a ‘no jab, no play’ policy it believes was promised in the game’s biosecurity guidelines.
They are the only two players in the competition who have been stood down.
“We’re certainly at a disadvantage now with 30 players going to contest the rest of the competition,” Meninga told Fox Sports.
“We’re not quite sure how it’s all going to pan out if we get any compensation for those guys making those decisions, personal decisions that will put the team at a disadvantage and the club at a disadvantage, to be honest with you.
“We’re not quite sure how we’re going to adjust to all that.”
Cartwright is not expected to budge on his anti-vaccination beliefs, while Meninga said Kelly has been spoken to by health experts, including an indigenous specialist, to help him understand the vaccinations.
However, he is yet to accept the jab.
The pair are just two of up to 20 NRL players who have signed a waiver to avoid the flu vaccination for various reasons, including past adverse reactions and religious grounds.
While the NRL is confident the Queensland government will relent and accept a vaccination waiver to allow the players to resume training, it’s unknown how long the situation could drag on.
In the meantime, the Titans will continue to seek clarity from the NRL over how to proceed with filling their squad with the season set to start on May 28.