Competition - NRL Premiership
Round - Round 01
Teams – Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights
Date – 6th March 2016
Venue – Cbus Stadium, Robina, Gold Coast QLD
Photographer – Charles Knight
Description –

Young Titans on the mend

John Olive has a simple and effective mental trick to keep his mind focused on the mostly dreary and repetitive path of injury rehabilitation.

“I think about the boys who haven’t been as fortunate as me,” said the Aquis Titans outside back who is nearing a return from shoulder surgery.

“There’s blokes like (Kane) Elgey who are going through rehab knowing they won’t be back this season.

“That must be really tough but they keep on going.

“For me, it’s motivating to think that if I keep doing all those little things I’m a chance to play a couple of games at the end of the season.”

Olive’s is just one approach helping the Titans’ rehab list which is shortening yet still featuring a bunch of names who would prove handy to coach Neil Henry at this critical stage of the season.

The NRL side is placed seventh despite having Olive, Elgey (knee-season), Matt Srama (knee-season), Daniel Mortimer (hamstring-season) and others on the long-term injury list.

Second-rower Shane Wright and NYC teammates Jed Cartwright, Greg Leleisiaou, Brian Kelly, Morgan Boyle and Kurt Bernard all had high hopes when they were invited to train with the NRL squad during the pre-season.

Wright was a bolter in the Auckland Nines team in January but, for the second time in three years, suffered a season-ending injury, this time to his shoulder.

“It (rehab) gets hard but having that ankle injury previously was even longer,” he said.

“That’s footy. You just have to get on with it.

“I like the challenge of rehab. If you rip in, time flies.

“It also helps having other things to focus on.”

Perth-raised Wright is deep into a Bachelor of Education degree at Griffith University and working as a teacher’s aide at Worongary State School.

“Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job,” he said.

“There’s a lot of Titans fans at the school and the parents and teachers often want to ask about how the team’s going.”

Olive is confident of a comeback next round, after he makes a successful return to full contact training.

He faces a battle to win back a centre or wing berth from in-form Titans Nene Macdonald, Anthony Don, Josh Hoffman and Konrad Hurrell but would be happy to play in the Intrust Super Cup.

“We’re in a good position at the moment,” the 19-year-old said.

“We’re a chance to be in the top eight so everyone’s knuckling down.”