Titans launch raid for budding Broncos star
The Titans have launched a poaching raid on Brisbane's best fullback prospect since Karmichael Hunt after Gold Coast culture chief Mal Meninga offered Broncos sensation Tesi Niu an immediate shot at the NRL.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Titans have ramped up their pursuit of Niu by meeting with the Tongan international to outline coach Justin Holbrook's Gold Coast vision.
Niu, 18, is rated so highly by Broncos powerbrokers that they believe he could stand alongside Darren Lockyer, Darius Boyd and Karmichael Hunt as one of Brisbane's top fullbacks.
While he played a Test match for Tonga last year, Niu is yet to make his NRL debut and is currently one of Brisbane's six development list players.
The Broncos were planning to upgrade him to their top 30 roster following the release of Izaia Perese, but all contract moves have been put on hold by the NRL amid the coronavirus shutdown.
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If Niu, who is off-contract at season's end, is upgraded to Brisbane's top roster, he could feature in the NRL this year.
But Meninga said the Titans could fast-track Niu's elevation to the top grade and build their team around him.
"Who wouldn't be?" said Meninga when asked about the Titans' interest in Niu.
"We feel a player of Tesi's ability would be fantastic for the club and he is someone we can build the club around.
"He's fantastic, I've kept a close eye on him over the past few years through the Queensland juniors.
"He made his debut for Tonga last year at fullback and was very impressive against the English.
"He's certainly a player of the future. He played for my old club Souths and had a terrific year last year.
"He's certainly a talent that could come into our club and play first grade straight away."
The Broncos are sizing up Niu as a long-term fullback but he could slot into multiple backline positions with his speed and talent.
The Titans are hoping the acquisition of Storm young gun Tino Fa'asuamaleaui will help them in their pursuit of Niu given the teenagers have a relationship.
The Gold Coast has lodged interest in Broncos dynamo David Fifita and Meninga said the Titans were looking to recruit players from the southern Brisbane region and strengthen their Gold Coast ties.
"There's a lot of good young kids out of Logan," he said.
"Some have come out of the Gold Coast too. (Broncos winger) Xavier Coates is an example.
"We're determined to not let that happen again."
Originally published as Titans launch raid for budding Broncos star