McCullough may hang up boots early as Verrills closes in on Titans deal

St George Illawarra and Andrew McCullough have opened discussions about the future of the veteran hooker and whether he will play on in 2023.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald that McCullough is considering retiring from the NRL despite having one more year to run on his deal at the joint-venture club.

The 32-year-old has played 305 NRL games for the Broncos, Knights and Dragons and is regarded as one of the game’s best ambassadors.

While it’s hard to be critical of his effort, the Dragons believe they need to bolster the dummy-half position.

McCullough is aware of his standing in the game and is considering calling a premature end to his career that began under Wayne Bennett at Brisbane in 2008.

Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough is a veteran of 305 NRL games.Credit:NRL Photos

The Dragons are in the market for a No.9 and have been looking at Sam Verrills and Jacob Liddle, among others.

While Verrills was among the Dragons targets and did entertain interest from the Red V, sources have indicated the Roosters hooker is poised to join the Titans from 2023.

A two-year deal that buys out the remainder of his current tricolours contract is close to being finalised as Brandon Smith prepares to arrive at Bondi next season.

Verrills is set to join Manly veteran Kieran Foran in adding much-needed experience to a talented Gold Coast spine that has struggled since Jamal Fogarty’s exit to Canberra.

The 23-year-old’s four years in the NRL have been hampered by several injuries, including a detached retina last season.

A broken thumb and then fractured collarbone have limited him to just 10 games this year but he has long been highly regarded at the Roosters, scoring the opening try in their 2019 grand final win.

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