Gold Coast captain Nathan Friend has no intentions to retire at the end of the NRL season, despite the Titans’ plethora of options at hooker.
The 35-year-old veteran only signed a one-year contract at the start of the year, and despite his age, says he plans to play on for one more season.
“Age is just a number,” he told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“A lot of clubs like to use that when it comes to negotiations, but as an individual I really prepare well and look after myself.
“I’m feeling fine, I love my footy and I would love to go around one more year.”
The Titans appeared to signal their long-term hooking options when they salvaged Nathan Peats from the Parramatta salary cap trainwreck on a one-and-a-half-year deal mid-season.
Friend has retained his starting spot in the wake of the signing, with Peats coming off the bench and often fitting into the back-row for parts of the game before going into rake.
But with Peats considered the heir-apparent to Robbie Farah as the NSW No.9, it is seemingly only a matter of time before he becomes Gold Coast’s first-choice hooker.
Then there’s utility Daniel Mortimer and back-up dummy-half Kierran Moseley, who are both off contract at the end of the season.
That’s not the end of the Titans’ hooking depth, with another off-contract No.9 – Matt Srama – also on the club’s books, with his recent years hampered by injury after impressing early in his career.
However 231-game veteran Friend, as captain, still believes he has a job to do for the club and their rising stars who have surprised many this season.
“I see myself as a leader still, a leader role on and off the paddock,” Friend said.
“I think one more year would obviously see them on their way and their way and I could probably move aside and let them take over.”