Prince gambles on Broncos NRL switch
Veteran halfback Scott Prince's career could end in Queensland's state league after he turned his back on Gold Coast to join rivals Brisbane on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old joined the Broncos on a two-year deal after the Titans not only agreed to release the playmaker from the final year of his contract but also contributed a reported $200,000 to their NRL neighbours as part of a severance package.
Prince's desire to walk away from the Titans was sparked at a meeting when his advisers were told the club wasn't prepared to take up an option to retain his services in 2014.
Titans' coach John Cartwright said Prince was still a key figure in his 2013 plans but Broncos' mentor Anthony Griffin was giving no such assurances to the 2005 Clive Churchill Medallist.
"He could play state league. I'm not being negative but those are the terms under which he comes here," Griffin said.
"He hasn't been given any guarantees and he wants that challenge."
A reluctance to pack up his young family and head to England scuppered an offer from Super League side Hull FC over the weekend, allowing the Broncos to snare Prince at a bargain price.
Griffin revealed after the deal was done on Wednesday that he'd initially been hesitant and had attempted to chase Prince away.
"I want to make it clear we were never in the market (for Prince)," said Griffin, adding he found the decision "awkward" initially.
"Over the weekend, I got asked the question (by football manager Andrew Gee) whether we would be interested in Scott Prince because he'd been released by the Titans.
"When the opportunity came up and the terms that it came with financially along with Scott's attitude, I thought it would be something that would make our club better.
"The opportunity to put a player of Scott Prince's ability - he's played for Queensland, he's won a grand final, he's played for his country and he's nearly played 300 games - on our list, it was too hard to walk past."
Griffin conceded his decision to add a player of Prince's pedigree to his roster would leave a few players feeling uncomfortable, with current No.7 Peter Wallace and rookie five-eighth Corey Norman those most under threat.
Having Wallace and Prince contracted could impact on them when North Queensland No.6 Johnathan Thurston hits the open market in 2014.
"I could not have made it more black and white (to Prince) that he starts from number 25 and he wants that challenge," said Griffin.
"I wouldn't have replaced anyone that we've got here for him.
"A few people will feel uncomfortable with it, but I don't think that's a bad thing at the moment.
"I'm not doubting the people we've got here. I've got a great relationship with the players, I've been very loyal to them and I still will be."
Cartwright said letting the club's captain depart was a tough call but he couldn't commit to offering Prince a place in the side in 2014 when he would be 34.
"He was a big part of our plans for 2013 because, as you can see, we haven't gone out and sourced another halfback," Cartwright said.
"I was consulted on the option of 2014 ... to commit to 2014 at the end of 2012 for anyone at 33-34 years of age is a big ask."
The move leaves the Titans with unproven playmakers Jordan Rankin, Beau Henry and Albert Kelly as their only halfback options, though the club is rumoured to be interested in Canberra young gun Sam Williams.
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