Wallabies star Gordon joins Titans as code war ramps up

Joel Gould |

Carter Gordon says he’s excited for a new challenge after signing play in the NRL with Gold Coast.
Carter Gordon says he’s excited for a new challenge after signing play in the NRL with Gold Coast.

Gold Coast have pulled off a stunning signing coup with Wallabies five-eighth Carter Gordon to join the club in another huge blow to Australian rugby.

The 23-year-old, who will join the Titans next year until the end of 2026, was a key member of the Wallabies World Cup squad in 2023 and played No.10 for the now defunct Melbourne Rebels.

Gordon will join fellow World Cup star Mark Nawaqanitawase in the NRL next year with Test winger signing with the Sydney Roosters from the NSW Waratahs.

Joseph-Aukuso Sua’ali’i is heading the other way, switching to rugby union from the Sydney Roosters next season.

Two other members of the Australian team, which made a historic exit in the pool round under Eddie Jones, NSW centre Izaia Perese and promising Melbourne backrower Josh Kemeny have also turned their backs on Australian rugby to play overseas.

Titans CEO Steve Mitchell said the Gordon signing was a huge boost to the club’s halves depth. Veteran playmaker Kieran Foran is off contract at the end of this year but is expected to ink a new deal while the Titans also have Tanah Boyd on the books. 

“It is very exciting for the Gold Coast Titans and very exciting for the game,” Titans CEO Steve Mitchell told AAP.

“He is arguably one of the most exciting young talents in rugby union both here and internationally and now the challenge of taking on the NRL is the next great chapter in his athletic career.

“Carter is going to be a great addition as a spine player and utility. He has an opportunity to work with Des Hasler and with a great squad.

“To have a high quality current member of the Wallabies squad make a decision to join our campaign speaks volumes for what Des is doing and what this club is all about.”

Mitchell said Gordon had played rugby league on the Sunshine Coast in his junior days.

Gordon has played eight times for the Wallabies and was first choice under Jones before being dumped from the starting role midway through the World Cup tournament.

He has been one of the Rebels’ best, with the financially-ravaged cut from Super Rugby Pacific by Rugby Australia leaving players scrambling for new homes.

Gordon said he couldn’t wait to make the code switch and test himself in the NRL.

“I’m excited with the direction that rugby league is taking and the positive feeling around the game,” Gordon said.

“At 23, I feel like I had to take this opportunity now.

“I’m under no illusions and understand that this will be a massive challenge.

“I was really impressed with the Titans and the professionalism they displayed in our meetings.

“I’ve loved my time with rugby as it’s given me the opportunity to represent my country which I’ll always appreciate.”

Titans Coach Des Hasler was licking his lips about Gordon’s impending arrival.

“Carter has competed well in rugby, representing his country and playing at the World Cup,” Hasler said.

“What has impressed me is his attitude to test himself and take on the challenge of switching to a new code.

“He’s a skilful player who backs himself.”

AAP