Titans coach Garth Brennan.

Titans coach Garth Brennan insists the establishment of a strong off-field support crew had given him clear air to focus on coaching the NRL team to success in 2019.

Whether it was media requests, recruitment or sorting out development pathways, in 2018 Brennan was being pulled from pillar to post.

That was particularly the case at the start of his tenure which he described as a "whirlwind" initiation.

Some personnel have been around longer than others, but the cavalry has since arrived with former Broncos director and chairman Dennis Watt installed as Titans chairman, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga as head of performance and culture, Phil Moss as head of football and Ezra Howe as recruitment manager.

The new Titans Elite Development System [TEDS] was also set up in November with Jamie McCormack as manager.

When Brennan was coaching lower grades at Penrith he had club supremo Phil Gould taking care of non-coaching matters. Brennan just coached the team.  

"Hook [Anthony Griffin] and Ivan Cleary had the same when they coached the first grade team," Brennan told NRL.com

"They had Gus and people around them and they just coached the footy team, whereas last year we didn't have that.

"I have to thank [Titans owners] Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle who identified that. They put the people around me to take the pressure off me so I can just focus on coaching the NRL team."

NRL.com spoke to Brennan in his office and a sense of calm radiated from him.

"This time last year the ownership had only just been done and for the first few months it was like a whirlwind," Brennan said.

"I got here and [chief operating officer] Tony Mestrov, who was doing all the football side of things, left.

"The support the club has now put around with blokes like Dennis Watt, Mal and Mossy – who weren’t here at the start when I first got here has made a massive difference."

Brennan conceded that in 2018 he "probably made the mistake of not being able to say no".

"I said yes to everything. Now with the people around me I can concentrate 100 percent on the footy side of things," he said.

"I can do more with the players individually and with preparation whereas I was getting pulled in a few different angles last year."

Brennan, a former policeman, stopped playing when he reached 30 and went into coaching.

He mused that "maybe it was the copper" in him that drove him towards coaching and wanting to help young men achieve their dreams.

Brennan did that firstly at the Newcastle Knights and then at Penrith where he coached the NYC and NSW Cup sides to premierships and built a reputation as a development coach.

Brennan, contracted until the end of 2020, is well aware that just developing players won't cut it.

"At those lower levels it wasn't about winning so much. It was about trying to get the best out of players and develop them to get to NRL level, but It is different at the NRL level where it is all about winning," he said.

"That is something else I have got my head around. This is not about developing players any more. It is to a degree, but it is everything about results."

Now with the people around me I can concentrate 100 percent on the footy side of things

Titans coach Garth Brennan

To assist him with that goal, Roosters premiership winner Luke Phillips came on board last year as a ruck specialist and Maroons great Trevor Gillmeister has recently been added as a defensive consultant for 2019.

Brennan and the Titans players have their sights set on finals football this year. The recruitment of Tyrone Peachey, Brian Kelly, Shannon Boyd, Tyrone Roberts and Ryley Jacks have given the coach options that he did not have last year.

"This year I am more comfortable with the roster we have got and I can coach my roster too. It is nice to get the personnel that you want so at least that way you live and die by your own sword," Brennan said.

"Last year we didn't have the depth there but this year we do. If there is a form slump I am not afraid to drop players. I don't pick my team on reputation or salary. Last year [Intrust Super Cup team] Tweed Heads had a salary cap of around $2 million at one stage.

"I pick the team on who earns the right to wear the Titans jersey and that won't change but this year I have a bit more luxury because of the competition for spots."

 

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