Justin Holbrook is hunting North Queensland forward John Asiata. Picture: Evan Morgan
Justin Holbrook is hunting North Queensland forward John Asiata. Picture: Evan Morgan

Holbrook makes first move with Cowboys enforcer

Titans coach Justin Holbrook has set his first recruitment target after meeting with North Queensland's NRL premiership-winning prop John Asiata.

The Sunday Mail can reveal Asiata toured the Titans' high performance centre on the Gold Coast this week.

The 2015 premiership winner is off-contract at the end of next season and has started assessing his future.

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Asiata, 26, has played 117 NRL games for the Cowboys since debuting in 2014 under coach Paul Green, who previously worked with him at the Roosters.

Asiata's manager, Chris Orr, confirmed the Tongan and Samoan international met with the Titans.

"It is early days and Johnny was on the Gold Coast with family so it was a great opportunity to meet the Titans whilst he was here," Orr said.

"The Titans presented a very professional presentation to John which will certainly give him plenty to think about."

 

Asiata has been a staple for the Cowboys for several years. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Asiata has been a staple for the Cowboys for several years. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

Asiata hails from western Sydney and came through the Roosters' lower grades.

He was one of Green's first signings when he took over the reins of the Cowboys and played six games in his debut season.

Asiata played 25 games in North Queensland's historic 2015 premiership season and came off the bench in the Cowboys' extra-time grand final victory against Brisbane.

A talented ball-player, Asiata made 12 appearances in the halves for the Cowboys last season.

Asiata played two Tests for Samoa in 2016-17 before switching allegiances to Tonga this year.

Holbrook is looking for ways to bolster his squad after the Titans claimed the wooden spoon last season under former coach Garth Brennan.

The future of poorly-performing prop Shannon Boyd has come under the microscope, but Holbrook this week insisted the ex-Kangaroos front rower was part of his plans.

Asiata is contracted to the Cowboys for 2020 and it appears unlikely he would make an immediate move to the Gold Coast following the retirement of North Queensland legend Matt Scott.

However the NRL player market is in full swing and the Titans need to add four players to their top squad before March 1.

News Corp Australia

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