Revealed: Big Tino’s Titanic contract clause
Maroons star Tino Fa'asuamaleaui has spoken of his desire to turn the Titans into an NRL powerhouse as a crucial clause in his Gold Coast contract was revealed.
Fa'asuamaleaui officially started pre-season training at the Titans this week, returning from an extended Christmas break following his remarkable 2020 campaign.
The towering forward played 22 games in Melbourne's NRL premiership season before featuring in all three Origin matches in his maiden series for Queensland - where he went toe-to-toe with NSW giant Payne Haas.
At only 20, Fa'asuamaleaui announced he will be one of the game's premier forwards for the next 10 years and while the Titans have also snared David Fifita, "Big Tino" could be the NRL's buy of the year.
The Titans landed Fa'suamaleaui's signature on a $2 million deal in December 2019, announcing his acquisition as a three-year contract from 2021.
However the NRL's official contract list has revealed Fa'asuamaleaui has an option in his favour for the 2023 season.
That effectively leaves Fa'asuamaleaui open to poaching raids from rival clubs for the 2023 season from November this year.
Fa'asuamaleaui has until midway through the 2022 season to inform the Titans whether he plans to take up the 2023 option as it stands. Alternatively, he could ask the Titans to renegotiate the value of the 2023 contract or sign a longer-term deal.
While Fa'asuamaleaui has only just moved to the Gold Coast, the Gympie product said he wanted to make the Titans his long-term club.
"One of the first things is my family live up here," Fa'asuamaleaui said when asked why he moved to the Titans.
"I really wanted to come up and bring my daughter (Alina, 1) up to my parents so she can have her grandparents around.
"I saw the club was moving up. They've been at the bottom for a while so I thought it'd be a good opportunity to bring it up and become a powerhouse in the future.
"I'm still young but I'm happy here and I've got another two more years. Hopefully in the future we can buy a house and stay here for a long time."
Fa'asuamaleaui has been living with close friend Fifita as he waits to move into a house next week with his partner and daughter.
He is on track to wear the Gold Coast's No. 13 jersey this year, which has been vacated by South Sydney recruit Jai Arrow.
Fa'asuamaleaui became an Origin sensation when he took on Blues rival Haas in Game Two of last year's series.
Fa'asuamaleaui and Haas will go toe-to-toe again in Round 2 of the NRL season when the Titans and Broncos clash at Cbus Super Stadium.
"It's good for us, we're young boys and good mates," he said of his rivalry with Haas.
"There's no mates on the field and we both have the mentality that it's 100 per cent when you get out there.
"It's good for us to have a rivalry out there. Hopefully some other young boys coming through can do the same.
"We (Haas and I) are as close as me and David (Fifita). We're really close.
"It was the heat of the moment out there. We're both good mates off the field but once we're on the field there's no mates.
"I just want to get through the pre-season healthy and once it gets closer to round one and two I will start thinking about that."
Fa'asuamaleaui entered the 2020 season with only five games under his belt and finished it was an NRL premiership-winner, rising Queensland Origin star and member of the Kangaroos merit team.
"It was big, I didn't expect that at the start of last year," he said.
"To achieve all of those things was pretty cool. I'm still buzzing and can't believe it really.
"It was a bit (hard to leave Melbourne) because I've made mates for life there. I was also so excited to come here and meet all the boys.
"I was happy with the decision I made at the start of last year. I was excited to get here and start training.
"I want to get through the pre-season healthy and fit. I want to improve at this club.
"The boys have been working hard and hopefully we can improve from last year and get a spot in the top eight."
Originally published as Revealed: Big Tino's Titanic contract clause