The inaugural Titan, who was one of the first players signed by the club in 2005 before the team’s entry into the NRL competition in 2007, plans to finish his playing career with St Helens after accepting a two-year deal from 2012-13.
However, in a boost for the club, the Murwillumbah junior has been offered a job post-football with the Jetstar Titans – likely to be in coaching and development in the Northern Rivers area.
Jetstar Titans Managing Director said the club had been intent on keeping the 30-year-old in Titans colours beyond this season but the club was unable to compete with the offer from St Helens.
“We’re really excited for Anthony and his family being given this opportunity. We wish him well and the relationship between our club and Anthony will remain strong,” said Searle.
“On his return back to the Gold Coast at the end of his playing career, we see Anthony joining the club in a capacity in game development and working in Northern NSW which is his homeland.
“Boof’ was one of the first players we ever signed, he’s a local boy – we both went to the same school – so I see him as an important part of the fabric of this club long-term.
“It would have been nice for him to finish his career here but sometimes those things aren’t always achievable. That’s disappointing for all of us but that’s the reality, we’ve got to make decisions sometimes that we don’t like making but that’s what our jobs are.”
Laffranchi, who has played 91 NRL matches for the club, said he was leaving on good terms with the Jetstar Titans and was just as excited about his move to the United Kingdom as he was about the prospect of returning to work for the club in junior development.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity of taking my young family over to the UK in the short-term, but I’m really looking forward to the long-term prospect of coming back and working for this great club that hopefully I helped build up over the last few years,” said Laffranchi, who has played for Australia (5 Tests), NSW (4 games) and Country (4 games).
“I always said coming through when I first started playing NRL that I’d like to give back to the game what I get out of it so I think being a local junior from the area, I can definitely relate to some of the kids coming through the system.”
Jetstar Titans Coach John Cartwright said Laffranchi had helped shape the reputation of the club both on and off the field.
“It is a big loss. We’ve been talking to ‘Boof’ about this for a while and had some lengthy heart-to-hearts on it. I was in a very similar situation myself as a player and a lot of things come into it,” said Cartwright.
“As far as ‘Boof’ leaving goes, it’s much more than what he brings on the field. He’s been a very important part of what we’ve been able to set-up off the field and how our club is viewed by our supporters and the rugby league community in general has a lot to do with those four or five guys that signed at the very start.”