The Gold Coast Titans have suffered a massive blow, with one of Australia’s biggest rugby league nurseries ending its partnership with the NRL club.
Powerhouse rugby league school Keebra Park has decided not to renew its deal with the Gold Coast and has instead inked a new three-year partnership with rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
It’s understood the deal soured after Keebra demanded an exclusive pathways arrangement with the Titans, who weren’t willing to drop their partnerships with other local schools.
Titans chairman Dennis Watt said the club was “disappointed” with Keebra Park’s decision to cease their affiliation.
“We are disappointed we were unable to satisfy Keebra Park’s demands around exclusivity as we need to act in the best interests of our entire catchment area,” he said.
“We take the view as a club that we will continue to offer a pathway for young boys and girls seeking to represent their families and communities at the highest level and where possible, we strive to keep families together.”
Keebra is known for building some of the league’s biggest superstars, including David Fifita, Reece Walsh, Payne Haas, Mo Fotuaika and AJ Brimson.
“We proudly boast several Keebra Park alumni who are committed long-term here on the Gold Coast,” Mr Watt said.
“We are grateful for the close working relationships we have had over the years with teachers and staff who have always had the best interests of their students, their school, and their community at heart.
“The Keebra Park school community will always be important to us, and we wish them well for the future.”
It’s another blow for the club who also lost their deal with the Burleigh Bears earlier this year, however, they have now confirmed a new deal with the Ipswich Jets in the Queensland Cup.
“The Ipswich region is one of Queensland’s true rugby league nurseries and we are excited to have the Jets on board with us in 2024,” Mr Watt said.
“The region is immersed with talent and is home to several rugby league greats including Alfie Langer, the Walters brothers and even our very own Karyn Murphy and Jim Lenihan.”
The agreement will see players from the Gold Coast play in the Hostplus Cup with the Jets each week.