He’s not exactly ‘The Grinch’, but Gold Coast Titans coach Neil Henry isn’t expecting his players to have too merry a Christmas.
The squad will break at the end of this week until December 5 to spend time with family and friends over the Christmas-New Year period and Henry doesn’t want the sweat of the past six weeks to be undone.
“The players will be having a bit of down time with family and friends, but they will be expected to train,” he warned.
‘They each get a program when they have a couple of weeks off. We expect them to rest up for the first five or six days and then do some work.
“We have only a short turnaround leading into the nines (Auckland Nines tournament on January 31-February 1).So when we get back on the fifth we will be flying out and playing nines at the end of the month.
“We only have about three and a half weeks to get the work done so they don’t want to lose what they have gained already. They will drop off a little bit, but we expect them to work during this rest period.”
‘King’ Henry, who took over the reins from inaugural Titans coach John Cartwright towards the end of the 2014 season, has already put in his Christmas wish list for 2015.
He wants more consistency and a better home record.
“Next season we are looking to be a consistent team, a team that is competitive each week,” he said.
“And we certainly need to improve our home record. We only won three of 12 at home last season so that was disappointing for our fans. If we are better at home and get out there each week and be competitive I will be happy with that.
“You want to win at home in front of your own fans. We finished the year with a good win over the Bulldogs, but that means nothing when we play the Wests Tigers in the first round of 2015 (at CBus Super Stadium on Saturday March 7).
“Six out of 12 away was pretty good (in 2014). If we can maintain that and win more at home we will move up the ladder a bit.
“There is no doubt the squad has a bit more depth this year. With the addition of Dave Hala and Josh Hoffman we have more punch with our attack as well.
And we have a couple of younger blokes stepping up after having one season at the club. So we are excited about that.”
Henry will use the Auckland Nines to help solve a ‘fortunate’ headache he has around the ‘One’ jersey.
Former Bronco Josh Hoffman, Titans vice-captain and club favourite Will Zillman and ‘super sub’ David Mead all offer strong arguments to start in the fullback role.
Hoffman started later because of Four Nations commitments and has been on lighter duties because of some general soreness but Henry has been impressed by his star recruit.
“He’s been very good. He’s come back in good shape and got straight into it so he was a bit sore for the first week,” he said.
“We’ve started doing a bit more ballwork now. We’ve been rotating him, Zilly and Meady around the fullback spot and into the centres.
“He’s fitted right in. He’s getting a feel for the team.
“It’s a good headache. He’s a strike player who prefers to play at the back but Zilly wants to be there and he’s training the house down and Meady’s made no secret he doesn’t mind being the custodian as well.
“We’ve got a decision to make around that position. It will come down to trial form.”
The Titans first 13-a-side pre-season trail will be against the NZ Warriors in Toowoomba on February 7.