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'I've got no shame in laughing or crying': Brimson's powerful chat with former Titan

AJ Brimson has opened up on how sharing stories with his close-knit group of family and friends helped him with the passing of close mate Liam Hampson during an overseas holiday in 2022. 

On the latest edition of the Keegan and Company podcast - hosted by former Titan Keegan Hipgrave - the Gold Coast star bravely opened up on the tragic events that unfolded when the pair were holidaying in Barcelona, and how the 25-year-old confronted the loss of his best friend during their 'trip of a lifetime' in Europe.

Speaking on the importance of his support networks and keeping Hampo's story and legacy alive through continuous conversations with his nearest and dearest, Brimson revealed this was a big part of his grieving process and staying mentally resilient during tough times.

Brimson alongside Liam Hampson's mother Lorna Morton.
Brimson alongside Liam Hampson's mother Lorna Morton. ©Titans Media

"I've got no shame in having a laugh or a cry with my mates and talking about things because it personally helps me get through life and it keeps names alive," he told the Keegan and Company podcast.

"I think they (Liam's family) really enjoyed the shit stories of Hampo overseas and what gave them comfort was the amount of times he called home to say he was having the time of his life.

"Just us boys being around his mum gave her comfort and going out for coffees and sharing stories and generally talking about him and watching videos.

"I now tell my partner Brooklyn who never got to meet him about him and bring him up a fair bit and she appreciates that and tells me to bring him up more.

"I know if it happened to me, I'd want people to show funny videos and say he's a legend. 

"I just think being around your crew definitely helps you."

The 99-gamer also delved into life under new coach Des Hasler, including what he believes is the key difference between him and former mentor Justin Holbrook.

"Pre-season has been good under Dessie... he's tough and honest, but all the boys have been frothing that," Brimson said.

"I think that's what we need. Justin was a good coach but Dessie is a different coach and is probably just a bit harder.

"We've got a few young boys like Tino who have been in good systems like Melbourne and thrive with accountability and being put under pressure and Des has no-name shame, so he's sprayed me already.

"I think it's good for the younger boys to see that everyone is getting sprayed... so if Tino drops the ball or a young 18-year-old train-and-trial drops the ball, the same thing happens."

AJ Brimson at pre-season training at Parkwood.
AJ Brimson at pre-season training at Parkwood. ©Titans Media

Brimson believes this tough approach will help make the Titans a feared team into the future that opposition sides don't want to face, especially at home.

"We've always had talent but we've always been a nice team. We don't have that hard edge," he said.

"We might score 30 points, but we'll lose 32-30 so I just want to be a tough team that teams don't want to play.

"If you face Canberra in Canberra, you know you're up for a tough, gritty game, so I think that's something Des is definitely going to bring."

Listen to the full episode here.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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