Gold Coast veteran Luke Bailey will retire after Sunday’s home NRL clash against Canterbury, ending a 14-year career.
Skipper Greg Bird admits slumping Gold Coast face a huge task if they are to send stalwart Luke Bailey into retirement as winner.
Pummelled 42-0 by the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday, the Titans returned home on Monday to news that 34-year-old ex-Test prop Bailey will call it quits following Sunday’s season-ending final round home NRL match against Canterbury.
Bailey, one of the first players signed by the Titans ahead of their inaugural 2007 campaign, is retiring after 14 seasons in the top grade following his debut with St George Illawarra.
Bailey missed the drubbing by the Warriors with a neck injury but is expected to take the field against the Bulldogs for his 151st match for the Titans and 270th NRL appearance.
Bird said the club would find it hard to replace the leadership of Bailey, a veteran of four Tests for Australia and 15 State of Origin matches for NSW.
“He’s going to be missed not just by me but by everyone at the club,” Bird told AAP.
Bailey joins Ashley Harrison (retired) and England-bound Mark Minichiello as three vastly experienced forwards who won’t be at the Titans’ next season.
The heavy loss to the Warriors was the first time in the Titans’ history the club has been kept scoreless in a game and, as their sixth consecutive loss, it equalled a club record that was only been set earlier in the season.
Bird, who could miss the match against the Bulldogs after being slapped with a grade one dangerous throw charge following the Warriors game, says delivering a positive result for the veteran trio will be tough.
The 14th-placed Titans have won just twice at home this season with their last victory in Robina coming way back in April against Brisbane.
“It is hard because confidence is basically as low as it could be at this stage of the year with the way we’ve been playing,” he said.
“The home form has been disappointing.”
LUKE “BULL” BAILEY – An NRL workhorse
* Clubs: St George Illawarra (2000-06), Gold Coast (2007-14)
* Games: 269
* Representative career
State of Origin: NSW (15 games) Tests: Australia (4 games) NSW Country: 2
* Dally M prop of the year in 2005
* Rugby League Week player of the year 2006
* His 150 appearances for the Titans is second only to Mark Minchiello (171)