Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan has held his final media conference ahead of tomorrow night’s match against Cronulla to open Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.
Here are the five key points ahead of the Titans’ clash with the Sharks:
1. It’s a kind of Magic
“It’s great,” Brennan said of the NRL’s Magic Round concept. “It’s great for the Gold Coast (as well as) Brisbane. It’s right here on our doorstep.
“To have all 16 teams in the one place, it’ll be a carnival atmosphere – a bit like the Auckland Nines used to be.”
2. Injury to Tyrone Roberts
“The short turnaround really hurt,” Brennan said of the Titans captain’s bid to play after being concussed against the Cowboys. “He showed some symptoms the following day, and they’ve got some really strict conditions you’ve got to tick off.
“With the short turnaround, (if) he misses one day it rules him out. If we were on Saturday or Sunday, he probably would’ve been right.”
And how much will it hurt the Titans preparations being without the in-form No.6?
“He’s been playing really good. He’s been taking some pressure off Ash (Taylor) and steering the team around but now it’s up to Ash to do the same,” Brennan said. “He’ll have AJ (Brimson) alongside him, and we’ve seen them play together before, so it should be good.”
3. Kevin Proctor named as new captain
“He’s a leader himself. He really doesn’t need the ‘c’ next to his name to be a leader,” Brennan said of Proctor.
“He’s played for his country, he’s been a leader here before, and I’m sure having the ‘c’ next to his name will bring out the best in Kevin, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.”
4. The NRL debut of Titan #147, Jesse Arthars
“Jesse’s been great from day one since he arrived,” Brennan said. “He’s been great back at Burleigh, and was rewarded with Queensland Residents selection, but has chosen to make his NRL debut this week, which I think is totally acceptable and understandable.
“Jesse is a really good story. He’s come home to the Gold Coast to be with his dad after a tough year, last year. He’s worked really hard and deserves his opportunity.”
5. Cronulla’s strike power
“They’re a quality side, you only have to look at their pack, led by Paul Gallen,” Brennan said. “I know it’s his last game in Queensland, and I’m sure he’d be keen to go out on a good note.
“I spoke very highly last time about how much of a quality player Andrew Fifita, is and he’s complemented very well by Mat Prior.”