A fan favourite, a veteran, an in-form prop and an inaugural member of the Gold Coast Titans side. They are just some of the terms you can use to describe the veteran Luke Bailey, who has re-signed with the Gold Coast Titans for a further year.
The 34-year old Bailey has played in 243 NRL games to date in his career, with next season to be his eighth at the club.
Hailing from the Shellharbour Steelers junior side, Bailey is a key part of the club’s leadership group and acts as a mentor for the younger players, as the veteran has not ruled out playing beyond 2014.
â€œIâ€™m happy with re-signing for another 12 months especially after my Achilles injury. Iâ€™m still excited about playing and I feel that Iâ€™ve got something to offer on and off the field,â€™â€™ said Bailey.
â€œI still think Iâ€™m competing pretty well against the top front rowers in the game and feel that Iâ€™m able to offer something in helping the young front rowers weâ€™ve got at the club.
â€œIâ€™m just excited to be part of a good team, weâ€™ve got some strike players that are firing and some good halves so itâ€™s a great time to be re-signing.â€™â€™
It was not that long ago that Bailey suffered a rather bad Achilles injury, one that kept him out for some time – with the only thing getting him through it? The continued support of his family, especially his wife and kids.
â€œIâ€™ve always been quite a positive person but there were times after my achilles injury that Bec could see I was down so she was always in my selena gomez pokies ear. Sheâ€™s been a big help and has always been putting my footy first and her second throughout my career so I canâ€™t thank her enough for that,â€™â€™ he said.
â€œEven my two eldest children, they know whatâ€™s going on now and follow the footy. They were giving it to me about being on the bench when my number changed from 8 to 15 so itâ€™s good, I like going out there and trying to put on a show for them.
â€œI never thought it was my last year when I did my achilles. If anything itâ€™s been a blessing in disguise because I didnâ€™t get flogged as much during the pre-season and it has given me more energy for this time of year.â€™â€™
Bailey received a glowing endorsement from coach John Cartwright, who believes that the veteran prop is playing as well now as he was back in the Titans inaugural year of 2007.
â€œWeâ€™ve been talking to â€˜Bailsâ€™ since the season started and heâ€™s very proud of his performance so if he didnâ€™t think he could be performing at the level he has, I dare say he would have said â€˜itâ€™s timeâ€™,â€™â€™ said Cartwright.
â€œHis form has been as good as when he first started for the club in 2007. He defies nature and just gets better and better with age.
â€œHe just prides himself on his performance and the thing with Bails is he wants to win a grand final, which is something he believes we can do.
â€œHeâ€™s also grooming guys that are going to take over his job down the track and thatâ€™s a rare quality to have.â€™â€™