Titans coach Garth Brennan has held his final press conference before tomorrow night’s clash with the Panthers in Sydney. Here are the main talking points from this morning.
The absence of Tyrone Peachey
The former NSW utility will again be missing from the Titans line-up this weekend, missing out on the chance to take on his former club, after being the latest of late-scratchings on “team list Tuesday”.
“We thought he might be close,” Brennan said. “We did a re-scan after training on Tuesday, and it just hasn’t healed to where we would like it to be, so he unfortunately got ruled out there at the last minute on Tuesday.”
The return of Dale Copley
Copley has been a try-scoring revelation on the wing for the Titans this season, but Brennan says he is looking for more experience and composure in the backline against the powerful Penrith backs.
“Dale’s a real pro,” Brennan said. “Very strong defensively. He’s been really good this year playing on the wing, but centre is his position, and I have got no doubt that he will do a real good job there for us.”
The coach is looking for big things from Phil Sami as he looks to cement his place in the Titans starting 13 after disjointed season to date that has been interrupted by injury.
“He got his opportunity last game, and I just think he brings that little bit of X factor,” Brennan said. “(Sami has) that finishing and he’s fast, he’s strong, he brings the ball back very well and you know the two wingers for Penrith bring that to their team, so hopefully Phil can do the same thing for us.”
Dealing with external pressure
Brennan said while the NRL news cycle was awash with speculation and rumours about the Titans and the results of Mal Meninga’s review into the club’s football operations, the coach’s focus was solely on taking the two points away from Panthers Stadium.
“I am a big believer – and I have said it plenty of times – that I only worry about things that I can control, and that’s out of my control,” Brennan said.
“I am focusing on preparing the team for the weekend’s game, and that’s all I am focused on. I don’t get caught up on the rest of the stuff.
“I know there’s things being said and there’s words out there. I’m not silly. People tell me that. I can’t hide under a rock, but honestly, it doesn’t faze me. I’m focussed on what I can control.”
The Titans enduring a season of near-misses
Brennan said the Titans had struggled to build rhythm and momentum from the word go this season, with an injury-ravaged start to the year.
“The handling of momentum has probably been the tough one,” he said.
“Some of our experienced leaders – Ryan James has missed the majority of the year, Nathan Peats was out for 10 weeks and those guys and Ash (Taylor) has been in and out all year as well.
“Because it is a young squad, (experienced players) give the younger guys a bit of belief. And when they are not there, I think it effects the belief of the football team at times when the momentum changes and it swings.”
The threat posed by the resurgent Panthers
Brennan said the Titans had a point to prove after a disappointing effort last start against Manly.
“We understand the threats that Penrith bring,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we have got to be better than we were last time we played against Manly.
“If we don’t perform better, it doesn’t matter who we are playing.
“So the boys have spoken about that, they are hurting after the performance against Manly because it was a game that was un-Titan like.”