Titans could lose cult figure
THE Titans are in danger of losing cult hero Anthony Don, with three Sydney clubs chasing the off-contract Gold Coast player of the year.
Don, who scored a double in the Titans' 30-24 loss in Newcastle on Saturday to rack up his 10th try of the season, has become a fan favourite on the Gold Coast after making his NRL debut for the club at 25 following a miraculous rise from the Grafton Ghosts.
The cut-price winger has been the Titans' best value player over the past few years as the club splashed out on marquee flops and has worked diligently to become one of the league's most reliable finishers.
The Titans have made an offer for Don to extend his stay on the Coast but it's understood the Bulldogs, Sharks and Rabbitohs have also expressed interest, leaving him with a tough decision.
It's understood all clubs have offered a two-year deal, which will take Don through until the end of the 2020 season when he is about to turn 33.
But the money on the table from the Titans is understood to be less than the $180,000 he is currently on, leaving him open to poaching by rivals willing to stump up more than the Gold Coast.
While he does not have the pace of some of the league's best flankers, Don has been one of the Titans' most reliable players in recent years, culminating in a breakout 2017 season that led to a NSW Country representative spot and Gold Coast player of the year honours.
He has also become a cult figure during that time.
"Is Don. Is Good," is the favourite refrain of commentators, while fans have set up an Anthony Don Appreciation Page on Facebook which has almost 1400 followers.
The Titans are comfortable with their offer given Don's age and injury history - he has had four shoulder surgeries - but losing the Grafton product would be a major blow, especially with Gold Coast products Kane Elgey and Karl Lawton already leaving the club this season.
A decision could be made as early as this week, with Don looking to shore up his future.
Money may not be the deciding factor for the former schoolteacher though, with Don telling the Bulletin earlier this season his preference was to stay on the Coast.
"My negotiations have been fairly different," Don said of a process that can be cutthroat.
"I've always preferred to stay on the Gold Coast, so I've always just gone to the club and seen where they were at and get something done pretty quickly.
"I haven't really talked to any other clubs in my career."
But he understands the sport is a business and he may have to move on.
"I love the Titans and I love the Gold Coast, so if it happens (that I can stay), that'd be great," he said.
"But we're in an industry where you can get moved on pretty quickly, so you've got to be open to the idea of moving. You'd love to stay but you might have to go."