Titans trade Turner to Storm

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First Grader
STEVE Turner will play with the Melbourne Storm in the 2007 NRL season after Gold Coast Titans agreed to release him in return for two players.

The Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne last night agreed to trade two players to end their 153-day battle for the 22-year-old winger's services, a move he described as "a massive weight off my shoulders".

"I'm rapt, couldn't be happier," said Turner, who had faced the prospect of sitting out this season.

"It's been a long battle the past six months and there have been a lot of up and down times.

"It's just a huge relief to finally be able to concentrate on 2007 and get back on the paddock with the boys.

"It would have been devastating (to leave). I feel like I've come all this way with the Storm and leaving now would have been really hard to handle.

"The worst thing is you don't feel like you're a part of the team. Training away from the boys has been the hardest bit, but hopefully I've done enough fitness stuff by myself to not be too far behind.

"It'll just be nice to get a bit of normality, not to have the tension and be sitting on the edge of my seat all the time."

Turner had agreed to a three-year deal with the Gold Coast in June, but didn't sign a contract. By August he had cold feet as his 2006 season and desire to stay in Melbourne blossomed.

The NRL sided with the Titans in the tug-of-war and refused to register Turner's Storm contract until the Gold Coast released him.

The move sparked a heated battle, with Titans boss Michael Searle as late as last Friday reiterating a "commercial arrangement" was the only way to end the standoff.

It is understood Smith Samau, who played once for Melbourne in 2006, and Queensland schoolboy Daniel Isaac will be traded to the Titans, with $85,000 compensation also part of the deal.

Searle could not be contacted for comment, but it is understood yesterday's signing of dual international Mat Rogers left him more comfortable about the new club's ability to cover for Turner.

Storm chief executive Brian Waldron was delighted with the outcome of the protracted dispute.

"There's been a fairly strong message that we like to keep people here who want to stay here," he said.

"To do that without going to legal means is obviously the best thing for the game."

Turner said Storm, his partner Kate and his parents in Sydney had helped him through the traumatic time.

"There have been a lot of anxious moments, and, really, it has put two careers on hold. But Kate's been so supportive, it's great it has worked out for her as well," he said.

"Our whole life has been on hold . . . we'll be able to get on with things and have a lot more security now - maybe even look to buying a house instead of renting.

"It's been a huge learning curve for everyone involved and a very stressful time. I would hope no one else has to go through it."

NRL Chief Executive Officer David Gallop was relieved after being caught in the crossfire since August.

"It sends a fairly strong message that once a player or a club makes a commitment, it can only be altered if all the parties agree," he said.
I wonder if the $85k is included in Melbourne's salary cap on top of his contract? I might drop a bell to the NRL to ask? That's 2% of their entire cap !!!
The Titans are starting to unravell as we speak.

Brian Carney has quit and Rogers rolled his ankle in the first training session.

What's a bet rogers plays about 1/3 of the games this year at best.

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