Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook won't make any apologies for standing firm on the club's decision not to allow Jai Arrow to join South Sydney this year.
The Queensland State of Origin forward has agreed to join Souths on a lucrative four-year contract from 2021.
With English forward Sam Burgess forced into medical retirement, the Rabbitohs had been keen to strike a deal to bring Arrow to Redfern 12 months early.
Ryan James' season-ending knee injury appears to have put paid to any hope of an immediate release however, with the Titans short on forward options in the middle of the field.
Holbrook is both sympathetic to the Rabbitohs' situation but wary of putting his own team in jeopardy.
"We're not trying to be nasty, but we never wanted him to go," Holbrook told AAP.
"I understand where Souths are at, they've got Sam Burgess, one of the best forwards in the comp, medically retired so hence that's the reason they're looking for him. Otherwise they wouldn't be looking for players, Sam Burgess would be playing.
"Disappointing for them but it's not up to us to accommodate that, we've got to worry about doing well up here."
Arrow's decision to choose the Rabbitohs over the Titans was a disappointment for Holbrook, who was eager for the 24-year-old to remain at the club he joined from Brisbane in 2017.
He is however insistent there's no bad blood between Arrow and the club and Holbrook is confident the lock will be a key part of his plans for the 2020 season.
"We've got no issue. Jai's a great fella," Holbrook said.
"He's obviously a very good player but he's a really good guy and he'll give his best for us this season."