The iSelect Gold Coast Titans are preparing to launch a genuine assault on February’s Auckland Nines, with Coach John Cartwright declaring his troops are ready to have a ‘real crack’ at the inaugural tournament.
The Titans returned to training this week and have just over a month to prepare for the first of the club’s pre-season trial matches against the Warriors at North Harbour Stadium on February 9 before remaining in New Zealand for the Auckland Nines the following weekend.
While Coach Cartwright still has several weeks to settle on his squad to contest the tournament at Eden Park, he said he intended to pick the best side available.
“If you treat it as a hit and giggle, that’s how it’ll come across,’’ said Cartwright.
“We’ve spoken inwardly as a group that we want to go over and have a real crack at it.
“The NRL is hard to pick each week, this will be even harder. It’s a bit of a lottery with nine a side – whoever has a bit of possession will probably win the game.
“The result can be taken out of your hands a little bit because of the nature of the game but we’ll be going over there to have a crack.’’
Cartwright said while the club's focus would be on the build-up to Round 1 in their preparation over the next five weeks, the side will have some specific plans and training sessions with the Nines format in mind.
“We’ll probably have a week of solid training getting ready for it. The main focus will be getting ready for our first game but we’ll go in with a bit of a plan,'' he said.
The Titans are in the same group pool as the Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks for the Nines.