Veteran claims Titans fullback fight
TITANS fullback Michael Gordon will not give up the Gold Coast's No.1 jersey to boom young gun AJ Brimson without a fight.
Coach Garth Brennan on Tuesday handed Gordon the coveted fullback duties for Sunday's round one clash against Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium.
Brennan has opted to ease Brimson back from a shoulder reconstruction from the bench given he had limited opportunities during pre-season trials.
At 20 and having produced a sensational debut season last year to be nominated for the Dally M rookie of the year, Brimson has been earmarked to be the Gold Coast's long-term custodian.
But the 35-year-old Gordon isn't going to surrender his favourite position without a battle.
"I know how good AJ is. My focus is never to come in and think I own a position," Gordon said.
"I tried to train my best and if I got picked I'd be stoked. I know if I don't perform it won't last long.
"Garth has said he's not afraid to drop anyone, regardless of who they are in stature.
"I take that as a challenge. Hopefully it brings out the best in me."
This year shapes as Gordon's 14th and final in the NRL, although he is yet to confirm his retirement.
The former NSW Origin winger is likely to be shifted out wide during games to accommodate Brimson's injection at the back, and said he was fine with whatever plans Brennan had in store for him.
"It wouldn't worry me one bit," he said.
"It's been a while but I've played plenty of centre and wing. It wouldn't worry me at all if that's what the team needed."
Fan favourite Anthony Don has missed out on a wing berth for the opening round after Brennan opted for youth in Brenko Lee and Phillip Sami, with Lee likely to see some time at centre.
Tyrone Roberts beat Ryley Jacks to the No.6 jersey and Nathan Peats will get first crack at hooker, although Mitch Rein is lurking.
Brimson could challenge Gordon for the No. 1 jersey as the season progresses, particularly if Brennan starts to look to the future.
The first-choice fullback predicted a big career for the Queensland Origin hopeful.
"He is a good kid. We get along really well and I like hanging out with him," Gordon said.
"He is going to have a long and great career. There's no doubt he will be playing rep footy very soon.
"It's not about what he can do on the field, it's about making sure he is doing the right things off it.
"From what I've seen so far he's got a great head on his shoulders and doesn't need much encouragement."
Titans captain Ryan James has been named to start in the back-row, with Bryce Cartwright to come off the bench.