Senior Coach Craig Hodges has held his final media conference ahead of tomorrow’s match against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Cbus Super Stadium.
Here are five talking points ahead of the match.
Still a lot to play for
Hodges said the Titans were determined to finish a tough season on a high, and had not “shut up shop” early because it was the final game of the year.
“(We) just tried to enjoy it,” Hodges said. “We have been trying to train properly because we’re trying to improve as a club.
“The people that will be here moving forward, its important what we take out of this year into next pre-season.
“So we haven’t wasted the week, or it hasn’t turned into silly buggers at all and nobody in our organisation is proud of where we are, so we haven’t knocked off.”
Young guns will be better for the experience in first grade
Hodges said the fact so many young players had been given extended NRL time this season would hold the squad in good stead for 2020.
“Hopefully it’s given them a much more realistic look in preparation and training-wise what the NRL requires,” Hodges said.
“When we have our starting props out and starting halves out, and have some outside backs juggled around, so when we get the full roster back in, you’ll get a natural talent increase in the team.
“You add that to the work ethic and training ethic that they’ve got at the end of this season, I’m sure it all points in the right direction.”
Kallum Watkins has been bravely playing with broken ribs to help the team
The English Test centre and mid-season Titans recruit has been playing injured for nearly a month to help the team through a difficult period.
“Kallum should’ve been out three or four weeks ago,” Hodges revealed. “(But) he was really keen to test himself in the NRL, and keen to get a good taste of what it was about.
“He had crook ribs on one side, and then busted his ribs on the other side.
“Even not in contact it hurts when you run and step, and it shudders through your whole body. But he got a good four or five-week block (playing), which is longer than what we originally intended for him, and he got a real good taste of NRL footy is about.
“He’ll know exactly what is required of him come November, and he’ll get a good three months to train and get ready for Round 1 next year.”
Titans wrecking ball Moe Fotuaika heading for surgery
Hodges said Fotuaika was basically being held together by strapping tape towards the back-end of the season, but courageously played through the pain for the Titans.
“He’s been absolutely outstanding, he requires a couple of different surgeries,” Hodges said.
“Moe is a 19-year-old middle forward who probably 10 weeks ago required knee surgery, and hand surgery, and eventually it was a high ankle sprain that’s pulled him up. He would’ve played this week with it.
“His tolerance of pain has been outstanding, and his effort – I don’t think anyone can question that. I think he has given people a lot of hope for the future, and been doing it on one leg and with one arm.
“It has been a tremendous effort – not just the physical toughness, but the mental toughness for a young man in his position. To do what he’s done is pretty incredible I think.”
Dragons dangerous after disappointing year
Hodges said the Dragons remained a threat even with regular hooker Cameron McInnes out with injury, with his replacement Reece Robson – who is heading to the North Queensland Cowboys next season – a very dangerous player.
“They’ll lose a bit of experience, because Cameron McInnes is experienced and a leader in their side from some of the responsibilities he’s been given,” Hodges said.
“(But) Reece Robson is an outstanding young player and a hell of a talent, so they don’t lose a lot talent wise.
“The enthusiasm he’ll bring getting an opportunity (will be) like the young guys coming into our side.”