Cameron StallardQRL content producer
From a young age, Jayden Campbell has always been a very skilful footballer.
The son of indigenous pioneer and inaugural Gold Coast Titans signing Preston Campbell, the immense talent has lit up the Hastings Deering Colts the previous two seasons.
And, after a successful seven-week train-and-trial with the Titans last year, has just freshly inked a development contract.
With no Queensland Rugby League statewide competitions in 2020, the up-and-coming back was given the opportunity to feature for Burleigh in the Gold Coast QTOP A Grade Cup, allowing him to compete against men and condition his body for his future elite aspirations.
“It was a weird year last year with coronavirus and all that, but we were lucky enough to play some footy here,” Campbell said.
“I played the first round, and then at training the next week, I broke my thumb, so I was out for around six or seven weeks, and then I came back for the last few rounds and then finals footy… but that was my first time playing against men so I enjoyed it.
“Physicality wise, I realised how tough it is against bigger bodies.”
Not only was it a challenge to adjust to playing against seasoned footballers, but Campbell also had the added pressure of competing against some of the Gold Coast’s best, particularly against Runaway Bay in the decider.
“The whole competition was really tough. You had a lot of the Cup boys drop back down,” Campbell said.
“You had quality players like Guy Hamilton in the team [playing for Runaway Bay in the grand final]. It just made it a really tough game and has given me a taste at what is going to come in the future.”
Giving credit to the local community competition for helping toughen him up, Campbell’s next focus is Intrust Super Cup.
“My realistic goal is to play consistent Cup. I haven’t made my Cup debut yet. I played 20s from 2018 onwards and haven’t cracked Cup yet, but hopefully I get there this year. It’s my goal this year,” Campbell said.
“Obviously, I’d love to debut, but I’m just going to bide my time and just pretty much develop my body and see what happens from there.”
With icon Preston Campbell recently re-joining the Titans in a new specialist role, Campbell said he was proud to join the club that had done so much for the Campbell family.
“I love the club. They’ve done so much for not just my family, but they’ve done so much for everyone,” Campbell said.
“Obviously my old man… they gave him the opportunity to come up here and finish his career where he started.
“They gave him the opportunity to provide for me and my family so, I’m really proud that I can come here and do the exact same thing hopefully.”