Hoffman wants Titans’ NRL fullback spot

Hoffman wants Titans’ NRL fullback spot

Becoming Gold Coast’s best fullback remains Josh Hoffman’s priority.

In the meantime, the Kiwi international will aim for a much-loftier goal – becoming the NRL’s best centre.

Hoffman says he has officially joined the queue for the Titans’ No.1 jersey despite David Mead starring in the role in Will Zillman’s absence.

The jury is out on when co-captain Zillman will return for the Titans after missing their season-opening win over Newcastle due to a calf complaint.

And it remains to be seen when Hoffman gets another crack at the fullback job he shared last year after Mead’s stunning turn last week.

Mead ran 171m in the wet to carve up a hapless Knights, ensuring he was again named at No.1 for Sunday night’s clash in Melbourne.

But Hoffman said he had been in coach Neil Henry’s ear about another fullback crack.

Until then, he will try to pull off a more-daunting task.

“I have put that in Neil’s ear. If the opportunity to play fullback comes, I will grab it,” he said.

“But my job is to be the best centre in the NRL.

“I am focusing on that.”

Yet Hoffman found it tough simply becoming Gold Coast’s No.1 left centre.

Hoffman battled a knee complaint throughout the pre-season before finally edging out rookie teenager Brian Kelly to earn selection against Newcastle.

Hoffman formed a promising left-edge combination with forward Zeb Taia and halfback Ash Taylor against the Knights.

“I am loving it with Ash and Zeb on the inside of me,” Hoffman said.

“Obviously, fullback is my preferred position … but I am trying to do a job for my team.”

Zillman has been named on an extended bench for the Melbourne clash but is considered an outside chance to end his injury jinx.

Zillman has not played since round 10 last year due to a back complaint that had required surgery.

Fellow extended bench selection Luke Douglas is also expected to struggle to break back into the Titans’ line-up after missing round one due to suspension.

It is believed Henry will stick with barnstorming prop Ignatius Paasi and rookie interchange forward Leivaha Pulu against Melbourne.

“Iggy and Pulu are going really well at the moment,” Taia said.

“But I am sure Dougy will work his way back in. With his experience, it will be hard for him not to be there.”

Zillman won’t return soon judging by Taia.

“He (Zillman) is doing everything he can to get back into the team but we just don’t know yet,” he said.

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