The Courier-Mail

Titans pay trib­ute to de­part­ing ex-skip­per

- CHRIS HONNERY Sports · Rugby · Tennessee Titans · Canberra Raiders · Canberra · Gold Coast · David Fifita · Las Vegas Raiders · Justin Holbrook · Kevin Proctor

TITANS vet­eran Ryan James ap­pears to have played his fi­nal game for the club af­ter sign­ing with the Can­berra Raiders on a two-year deal from 2021.

The 144-game Gold Coast stal­wart an­nounced the move on Mon­day as the Titans’ roster reshuf­fle con­tin­ues un­der coach Justin Hol­brook in an­tic­i­pa­tion of an im­proved per­for­mance next sea­son.

Al­though James (pic­tured) will miss fu­ture Gold Coast glory days, he will leave know­ing he was in­stru­men­tal in steer­ing the club through some of its dark­est days.

The club cap­tain de­buted in 2010, be­com­ing an im­por­tant part of the club on and off the field.

With young for­wards David Fi­fita, Her­man Ese’ese and Tino Fa’asua­maleaui join­ing next sea­son, it was al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge to keep the in­jured skip­per.

James has not played this sea­son af­ter rein­jur­ing his an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment (ACL) in Jan­uary.

Gold Coast CEO Steve Mitchell bid farewell to one of the club’s “most en­dear­ing fig­ures” while Can­berra’s re­cruit­ment and high-per­for­mance di­rec­tor Peter Mul­hol­land cred­ited James’ leadership as a key fac­tor in the sign­ing.

“Ryan gave his all on the field, but he has also given just as much off it,” Mitchell said.

“Not un­like Preston Camp­bell, Ryan has de­vel­oped into a com­mu­nity leader, help­ing drive in­clu­sion and so­cial im­prove­ment out­comes.

“At this stage of his ca­reer, Ryan and his fam­ily ob­vi­ously had to de­cide what is best for them and that means a fresh start at the Raiders.

“He moves on with our com­plete sup­port and best wishes.”

James’ move comes as stand-in skip­per Kevin Proc­tor, whose con­tract is up at the end of this sea­son, de­clared his de­sire on Sun­day to re­main on the Gold Coast.

“Ob­vi­ously I would like to stay here,” Proc­tors said.

“I just like where the Titans are go­ing and where we’re head­ing at the mo­ment.”

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