Hardman Luke's toughest decision

EARLIER this month, surrounded by his parents and those closest to him, Luke Douglas had to make the hardest decision of his life so far.

On a notepad, he jotted the reasons behind his decision.

To go? To stay?

“It was a dead-set toss of a coin,” the Yamba-born Sharks enforcer told the Examiner yesterday.

“I have been writing down the pros and cons.

“In the end I couldn’t turn it down. I’d regret it if I turned it down.”

Over the next three weeks the decision was made – and unmade – several more times, leading to Wednesday’s media leak.

It was officially confirmed the next day: Douglas was moving from the NRL’s Sharks to the Gold Coast Titans on a three-year deal.

Cue a raft of media trying to reach the former Lower Clarence Magpie.

AFTER several failed attempts, Douglas finally answered my call.

Not the first – or last – he received from the media that day.

The croaky voice echoing down the phone a giveaway to the pressure the 24-year-old has been under.

Pressure he put on himself.

He wanted to get one thing clear.

“I’m hoping people don’t think I left the Sharks for the wrong reasons,” he said.

“It was a decision I have made for myself. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

“Being a Yamba boy, it (moving to the Gold Coast) was certainly very appealing. It was something that I have had in the back of my head for a while.”

After finally penning the Titans deal on Tuesday, Douglas had planned on speaking to the Sharks, allowing them to decide how the announcement played out.

The leak stole the punchline.

“I was really annoyed when I was told it had been leaked,” Douglas said.

“I didn’t have the chance to chat to my coach or teammates.

“Once I signed I was going to go in and speak to the other Sharks players about why I was going.”

But Sharks fans need not worry.

Your ironman, who has assembled 128 consecutive games since his debut, won’t leave the club with any regrets.

“I’ll be ripping in for the rest of the year. I love the club,” Douglas said.

“Even though we have lost the last couple of games, we are in for a big year. The key is to think about what we can do at the Sharks this year and think about next year.”

Titans coach John Cartwright described the 110kg prop as being in a similar mould to the club’s forward leader, Luke Bailey.

Douglas was picked as 18th man for New South Wales in the final match of last year’s State of Origin series and has also been selected for Country Origin.

“He plays big minutes and is similar to a Luke Bailey type. One of his ambitions was to play alongside Luke Bailey and we see him as the sort of guy that when Bails does retire down the track, he’ll take over from him,” Cartwright said.

“He ticks a lot of boxes. He’s verging on State of Origin selection, he’s young, he’s from the Northern Rivers and he’s come here for the right reasons.

“He could have earned more money where he was but he’s made the decision to come home to be closer to his friends and extended family.”

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