The Gold Coast Titans in 2007 is a long way from the Midhurst Junior Magpies (Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island) where Sharks Prop James Stosic (Pron – store-sitch) began playing Rugby League.
Today the 24 year old became the 22nd signing for the Gold Coast Titans, agreeing to terms for 2 years.
"I am really excited. I have family on the south side of Brisbane and that was one of the main reasons for me, apart from the lifestyle. I mean it is the perfect place to be really. On the professional side I am excited about the signings the Titans have made to date and am also keen to be coached by John Cartwright. But being away from New Zealand and having family just up the road in Brisbane is really important to me."
Stosic has worked his way into the starting line up at the Sharks this season – replacing an injured Hutch Maiava initially then has gone on to start as prop for 10 matches this season.
The latest chapter in Stosic's career has given more credence to the former Junior Kiwi's decision in 2003 to come out of retirement at the ‘ripe old age' of 21.
"I was up in Brisbane and wasn't doing much," said Stosic. "In fact I had given the game away but I got a phone call from my manager at the time who told me to pack my bags and head for the Newtown Jets in Sydney to try out for Premier League. I was lucky enough to get in and they gave me the opportunity to come back into the sport."
Titans Head Coach John Cartwright has big wraps on his latest signing believing the way Stosic has broken into the game at the highest level, is fitting of the type of player he is recruiting.
Cartwright said, "He did it (broke through to NRL level) the tough way playing Premier League for Newtown then going to Cronulla. He was working as a brickie's labourer, coming home and going to training arriving back home at 8 o'clock then going to bed then getting up for work the next day to do the same all over. So he's done things the hard way and l like guys like that – they appreciate what football can offer them. I saw him play in the residents game for NSW against Queensland last year and he was probably the best player on the field. That stuck in my memory bank and then I've watched him with interest this year and he's performed well."
Gold Coast Titans signings to date:
Forwards: James Stosic (Sharks), Mark Minichiello (Souths) Clint Amos (Cowboys) Michael Henderson (Dragons) Michael Hodgson (Raiders) Frank Puletua (Panthers) Luke Bailey (Dragons) Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers) Luke Swain (Panthers) Brad Meyers (Bradford) Nathan Friend (Storm) Luke O'Dwyer (Eels)
Backs: Brett Delaney (Eels) Jake Webster (Melbourne Storm) Gavin Cooper (Cowboys) Steve Turner (Melbourne Storm) Preston Campbell (Panthers) Brian Carney (Newcastle) Matt Petersen (Eels) Scott Prince (Tigers) Richie Mathers (Rhinos) Josh Graham (Western Force)