‘Jarryd Hayne leaving had nothing to do with it’
HE is the elixir to many of the ills created by the departure of Jarryd Hayne but new Titans signing Michael Gordon has revealed that he was exploring the possibility of a Gold Coast return prior to Hayne being released.
Gordon and Titans coach Garth Brennan spent time together at the Panthers in 2012 but even during stints with the Roosters, Sharks and Eels, Gordon regularly investigated the option of coming home to the Gold Coast where he played his junior football with the Tweed Coast Raiders.
As speculation mounted that Hayne's 18-month tenure at the Titans would come to a premature end, Gordon reached out to Brennan and when the superstar fullback's departure was confirmed the Titans pounced.
Released from the final year of his contract with the Roosters, Gordon joined his new teammates in spectacular surroundings at Coolangatta on Tuesday and denied Hayne re-joining the Eels was the major catalyst behind joining his fourth NRL club back where it all began.
"Jarryd leaving had nothing to do with (me coming)," Gordon said.
"I'd spoken to Garth before that all happened and he said that even if he stayed he was still keen for me to come home.
"It probably made it seem like that was the easiest explanation but he was keen for me to come either way.
"I just couldn't ignore the chance to come home.
"Pretty much every time I've come off contract I've tried to come home.
"I've been trying to come back here for a long time now and one way or another it's always fallen through from either my end or up here.
"I didn't want to let the chance slip again."
Hayne's history of being a disruptive influence within a team is well known but that's not an issue Brennan has to worry about in bringing the 34-year-old Gordon into the squad.
In addition to filling a large hole at fullback the sharpshooter who finished the 2017 season with a goal-kicking strike rate of 78.3 per cent will also take some of the pressure off talented playmaker Ashley Taylor and provide leadership in a backline that was noticeably short of it.
"In the backline there were a few drills I did where I had forwards and backs and there wasn't a standout leader in the backs," Brennan said.
"I had a little concern that we lacked experience in our backline.
"When Micky Gordon made contact with me it was a no-brainer.
"I didn't know the number and I answered it thinking it was someone else and it was Michael.
"He indicated if the opportunity arose he'd love to come back.
"I explained to him that he needed to speak to the Roosters, 'Robbo' (Roosters coach Trent Robinson) and Nick Politis first and deal with that.
"I wasn't in a position to talk to him while he was still under contract.
"He did that the next day and they gave him the approval to see what else was out there.
"The one thing about Michael Gordon is he is a quality football player but an even better person.
"Players love playing with him.
"The fact the players love playing with him means he will have their respect. They will listen to him and buy into what he says."
Gordon himself says that he doesn't expect to have to say much at his new club but will endeavour to provide younger members of the squad such as Phillip Sami, Tyronne Roberts-Davis and Brendan Elliot an example they can look to establish careers in the NRL.
"I've never been a big talker or someone who has tried to tell people what to do but I just try and lead with my actions," said Gordon, who has played 225 NRL games across 12 seasons.
"Whether it's fitness or anything I just try and lead by example and that's what I'll try and do here.
"They've obviously had issues over the years but it seems like they're heading in the right direction.
"Speaking to staff that have come from other clubs they can just sense that there's a real good buzz around the joint."