ALBERT KELLY has revealed his cousin, Titans star Beau Champion, played a crucial role in helping him secure a lifeline at the Gold Coast.
Kelly will join the club on a part-time trial basis during the off-season, with a chance to earn a full-time contract if he impresses. The opportunity came after Champion - ''We're related down the line there somewhere,'' Kelly said - spoke to coach John Cartwright about adding the 21-year-old to the squad.
''I gave [Champion] a call and we had a yarn about it; he was going to put in a good word for me. Something has come out of it.''
Kelly has shown glimpses of his potential in brief stints at Parramatta, Cronulla and Newcastle. However, off-field misdemeanours have limited him to only 14 NRL games at the Sharks.
But the recent birth of daughter Brida-Lee and the guidance of mentor Brian Dowd of Black on Track now has him primed to finally fulfil his potential.
''My family … having a little girl now,'' Kelly said when asked why he will succeed with the Titans. ''Probably training hard, putting the past behind me and looking forward to getting onto the paddock and playing a whole season. A new start and it's refreshing to start at a new club at the right time. It will be good to come up at pre-season when all the coaches and players come together.''
The Kempsey product said the chance to learn from veteran halfback Scott Prince held great appeal. ''I grew up watching the footy and he was big-time back then in [the 2005] grand final against the Cowboys. He's a great player and he's definitely got some good players around him.''
While Kelly is happy to play anywhere in the back line, he could develop into a long-term No.7.
''They spoke about playing in the halves, maybe halfback,'' he said. ''They asked me if I could direct some of the forwards around and I'm happy to do that. I feel comfortable in second receiver but first is pretty much the same these days. I don't mind getting amongst it in the backs, the centres or whatever.''
The Titans also secured 19-year-old English fullback Matt Russell on a two-year contract and former Canberra Raiders lower grade prop Mark Ioane, 21, on a one-year contract, during the week.