The Gold Coast Titans can confirm the appointment of Justin Holbook as the NRL club’s Head Coach for at least the next two seasons.
Holbrook, currently the Head Coach of Super League leaders St Helens, will join the Titans in November to begin the club’s pre-season preparations for the 2020 season.
The Titans respectfully delayed making the news public to honour Holbrook’s request to deliver the news personally to his players and staff at St Helens before any official announcement.
Holbrook has built his team culture at St Helens around the key value of trust – a philosophy the Titans share through our Club’s RAPT values of being Resilient, Accountable, Proud and Trustworthy.
Titans Executive Chairman Dennis Watt said the Club was delighted to secure Holbrook’s signature to lead the Gold Coast into a new era in the NRL.
“I think everyone in rugby league would be aware of the tremendous success that Justin has enjoyed in Super League, rebuilding St Helens to the top of Super League and taking them to the Challenge Cup final,” Watt said.
“Justin is very highly regarded, and it is a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of the Titans and the work that is already being done at the Club that he has chosen the Gold Coast to begin his NRL career.”
Holbrook, 43, said he was excited by the prospect of joining the Titans and returning the Gold Coast to the top of the NRL ladder.
“The ingredients for a truly great club already exist at the Titans, and I am looking forward to moving to the Gold Coast to play my part in turning that vision into a reality,” Holbrook said.
“The Titans are a very strong club backed by a strong rugby league community, with a fantastic junior nursery that feeds an exceptional development and pathway system.
“I can’t wait to begin working with the excellent people already within the organisation to help the club reach its true potential.
“I will of course be sad to leave St Helens, and will always be thankful for the opportunity and support that the club and its amazing fans gave to me.
“I will never forget my experience at St Helens, and hope to replicate it in my next challenge with the Gold Coast Titans.”
“I would like to make special mention and thank the Gold Coast Titans for allowing me time to address my current players personally regarding my decision to join the Gold Coast, which could only occur this morning due to our training schedule.
“It was important the players heard it first from me, not by reading it online, as I have created an honest and trusted environment here at St Helens which needed to be respected.”
Watt said the Titans had been impressed by the quality of the candidates that had applied for the Head Coach position at the Gold Coast.
“While our results on the field in recent times have not been up to standard, I think the terrific work and results that are being achieved in the other areas of the Club are proof that the Titans are on the rise,” Watt said.
“The people that choose to look beneath the surface and not judge the Titans book by the cover of on-field results would see that the Club is in tremendous health, with strong foundations for rapid growth.
“The Club took its time in the appointment of our next Head Coach, because it was a critical decision in the Club’s history and had to be done correctly.
“The calibre of the applicants was outstanding, and each of them was judged against strict and detailed criteria to ensure we found the best person for the job, and in the best interests of the Club.
“The English Super League has proven to be a successful system for the next generation of top-level coaches to finish their apprenticeships.
“The last two coaches to come back to the NRL after coaching in Super League were Michael Maguire and Trent Robinson, and both won premierships on their return to Australia. We would love to see Justin continue that tradition.
“His values and ambitions are in alignment with that of our Club. Justin will be a tremendous asset to the future of the Gold Coast Titans.”
Eamonn McManus, Chairman of St.Helens R.F.C. said: “From St. Helens’ perspective, we are clearly disappointed that Justin has ultimately decided not to enter into a new contract with us.
“We did everything practical to persuade him to stay, but we must respect his decision to join the Gold Coast Titans and to return to Australia with his young family. We wish him every success and more in his career and life ahead.”