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Campbell aims to be a Titan among men as Gold Coast's No. 1

Andrew Mathieson -

The appointment of Des Hasler to coach Gold Coast Titans next season could make or break the future direction of Jayden Campbell's pending career.

The 23-year-old Indigenous talent fell behind teammate AJ Brimson in the pecking order for the preferred full back role this year.

Pressure will be on Campbell to regain the position his famous father Preston had his most success across 267 NRL games at four clubs, including 117 appearances on the Gold Coast to bookend his 14 NRL seasons.

The Titans even went as far as elevating 2023 recruit Keano Kini off his development contract into the first grade as the Kiwi emerged as yet another No. 1 jersey contender.

The move also forced the proud Nucoorilma man to unaccustomedly play either five-eighth in the absence of an injured Kieran Foran or otherwise to come off the bench, as a utility to cover a matchday injury.

Campbell did still start at the back in nine of his 22 games this season, but was not in the starting lineup on 10 occasions, including Gold Coast's opening four fixtures.

But Campbell has come out to declare his intentions next year is to return to fullback.

"With the new coach, I've got to come to training and do my best and prove that I'd like to play fullback," he said at a Titans' press conference.

"Growing up, fullback was my main position and I feel like that's my best position.

"I feel that's where I play my best, so I'd like to lock that spot down."

Campbell has little choice rather than seek another club should Hasler maintain the status quo.

He held off signing with rival teams last November and extended his ongoing contract for a further two years until at least the end of the 2026 season.

While the local Helensvale Hornets junior is viewed inside the Titans administration as too gifted to leave out of its NRL side and play in the Queensland Cup, the man himself has no qualms of putting the club first and bide his time away from fullback.

"For me, I've always said wherever the team needs me, I'll play," Campbell said.

"I'd like to play fullback, but wherever the team needs me, I'll play there.

"I'd love to bring a premiership to the Gold Coast, so wherever they need me to play for that to happen, I'll do it."

The difficulty may not be that Campbell is not the best fullback, but that Brimson had struggled in the halves, and the switch made better sense.

After years of watching the game back from the line, Campbell believes he is a more-rounded player for opening his eyes to the game from the positional change.

"I feel like (this year) benefited me," he said.

"When you play different positions, you understand what that position needs from other positions.

"So I wouldn't really say (the switch) stumped me."

The 44-gamer will be the most senior Titan on their current roster, including invited train-and-triallists, to return to early preseason for the youngest squad members.

Hasler's new reign at his third including two stints with Manly has Campbell already anticipating the intensity to rise with the two-time premiership winner in charge.

"I'm excited, but scared at the same time," Campbell said.

"Hopefully having someone like Des, who will be hard on the boys, will help us get a lot better."

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