The Aquis Titans won’t just have a new look on the field this season but there will fresh voices driving the squad during pre-season training with major changes in performance area.
The new performance team is headed by Matt Ford and Sean Edwards whose connections with head coach Neil Henry go back to their days together at Canberra Raiders. Also joining the strength and conditioning team is Adam Paulo, who has worked with the Melbourne Demons in the AFL and Brisbane Broncos in NRL.
And head of performance Ford, quietly spoken, considered and committed, was succinct with his ambitions when he fronted the media on his first day of training.
“I came here because I really got a sense the club was heading in the right direction and that there is definitely stability and optimism going forward and I’d like to be part of that,” he said. “To bring the club up the table, and work with a great staff that is like minded, hard-working and professional, is a great opportunity.
“The goal is to have the fittest, strongest and quickest possible squad we can but not at the expense of injuries.”
Edwards worked at the Raiders for several seasons before joining coach Henry at North Queensland and working at the Rabbitohs under Michael Maguire for the past two seasons. He has taken on the role of strength and power coach.
Emma Russo has also joined the performance team, while Daniel Jones has been added to the physio staff under Greg Condon. Completing the remodelled off-field football team is recruitment (list) manager David Hamilton who comes to the club as a respected figure in the industry after 18 years with the Raiders.
They join assistant coaches Terry Matterson and Rowan Smith who were new to the club a year ago.
“New players, new staff, new start,” is how Henry described the dawning of a new season’s preparation this week.
“Matt and Sean are guys that I do know and have worked with but they’ve also had experience at other very successful clubs in Melbourne and Souths and they know what it takes to be a consistent performer in the NRL and it will be great for our players to benefit from that expertise,” he said.
“Matt is hard but fair and very knowledgeable who has the benefit of being part of the very successful system at the Melbourne Storm for two years and he has a good rapport with players and expects and demands that they are up to speed.
“We have used 65 players over the past two years, so been up there in the past two years, and we’re fortunate the board has allowed us to expand our budget in that area and we are able to cater for our players a bit better.”
Ford admits the club culture at the Storm, built over several years, was outstanding but his goal is to ensure a strong culture and work ethic exists under the Titans under his watch.
"Every club in the NRL has got their positives and the Storm's is based around culture but I'm hoping that there are plenty of positives up here at the Titans that we can build on from the last few years.
PICTURED: Matt Ford, Neil Henry and Sean Edwards.
Click PLAY above to watch the full interview with Matt Ford.
Tomorrow we introduce Sean Edwards.