EXCITING Gold Coast Titans winger David Mead has agreed to a whopping contract extension that will see him calling Skilled Park home until the end of 2013.
In a huge show of faith in the boom flyer by the Gold Coast, Mead, 22, is the first player besides marquee halfback Scott Prince to have their deal extended past 2012.
The Titans are expected to announce the extension within a week, but a club insider yesterday confirmed the deal had been done.
Mead has played just 14 NRL games, but made a sizzling impact for the Titans in his debut season last year and has been a star performer for Papua New Guinea since the 2008 World Cup.
“He is seen by the club as one of those players, who is going to be a cornerstone of our outside backs,” the club insider said.
“He has put weight on over the pre-season and he is getting aggressive, which is great.
“He has got the little bit of fire in his belly.
“He has trained really hard in the pre-season and showed the club that he deserved a long-term contract.
“He is young, but the club has never been afraid of making calls on young players.”
Dynamic trio Mead, Kevin Gordon and Esi Tonga were locked into three-year deals at the start of last season after the Titans fended off lucrative poaching attempts from Sydney clubs.
At the time, the three Titans were touted as the first 10-year players for the NRL’s newest franchise.
Mead is the first of the three highly touted homegrown youngsters to seek an extension, with Coffs Harbour product Gordon and Logan-raised Tonga still off contract after next year.
“Dave is a Lismore boy, grew up there despite the fact he was born in PNG, so he is one of our juniors and has a strong link to the Gold Coast,” the club insider said.
“He was one of the first junior players we signed, right back to the days when we first got into the comp.
“Dave was keen to commit to the area and buy a house and all those good things.
“The club would love him to stay here long term, and would actually love all three of them to stay as a unit, to grow together.”
Prince has been locked in as the heart of the Titans side until 2014.
Origin backrower Ashley Harrison, prop Michael Henderson and fullback William Zillman are all signed until the end of 2012.
The rest of the squad are due for contract talks either this season or next.
Mead will line up on the wing for the club’s final trial against the Cowboys in Darwin tomorrow and, barring injury, that is where he will be in round 1 against the Warriors at Robina on March 14.
Gordon will be the Titans’ other winger, while Tonga will miss the opening rounds as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction.