Gold Coast being the frontrunners to land Cameron Smith should the NRL veteran play on in 2021 highlights just how much has turned around for the Titans since Kevin Proctor joined them.
Proctor was a teammate of Smith’s at Melbourne from 2008 until the New Zealand international’s departure from the Storm in 2016.
Since then Proctor has endured his share of struggles, on and off the field both personally and at a club that been starved of success, but he enters his 14th NRL pre-season buzzing with excitement at the Titans’ prospects.
Proctor said someone with Smith’s stature realistically signing on with the Titans in favour of Brisbane wouldn’t have even been discussed in previous seasons.
“The difference between this year and other years is people actually want to come here now and players actually want to come to the Gold Coast,” Proctor said.
“It’s all hearsay at the moment so you don’t want to get too excited, but he’d be a great addition, obviously, to any club.
“I’m sure we’ll welcome him with open arms, if he does come up here.”
While the Titans didn’t make finals in their first season under coach Justin Holbrook, they did end the campaign with a five-game winning streak.
With the addition of barnstorming young forwards David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, the sense that 2021 could be a year to remember has been recognised with the club commissioning a fly-on-the-wall documentary of their pre-season.
It’s a level of expectation Proctor said is exciting, rather than overwhelming.
“He’s part of the furniture now, we’re just used to having him there,” Proctor said of the film maker watching their every move.
“It’s good to have that extra hype around training.
“There’s a few actors when he’s around … there’s a few guys lifting an extra couple of weights or doing an extra couple of sidesteps.
“During my time here, I suppose I haven’t recognised as much hype as there is around this season coming up and it’s really good.
“It makes us feel good and I suppose it makes us excited for this year as well.”