A simple text message after training with the Burleigh Bears was the start of a conversation that led to Jimmy Lenihan today being announced as the new Assistant Coach at the Gold Coast Titans.
Lenihan made his first appearance as a Titan today at the Club’s High Performance Centre at Parkwood, fresh off a successful season with Burleigh that netted the Bears the Intrust Super Cup premiership, and a heart-breaking loss to Newtown in the State Championship in Sydney.
After a successful tenure at Burleigh that delivered two premierships and a preliminary final in the past four years, Lenihan said he jumped at the opportunity to join incoming Head Coach Justin Holbrook and Senior Assistant Coach Jim Dymock on the new-look coaching staff for 2020.
The 46-year-old revealed he received a text from Holbrook only a few weeks ago, beginning a conversation that convinced the new Head Coach Lenihan had what he was looking for to help rebuild the Titans.
“I got a text from Justin one night at training and then I organised a phone call,” Lenihan said.
“We had a few calls over the next few days, and it all got done pretty quickly to be honest.
“It was quite exciting to talk to Justin. He’s having a great year in the Super League and has a Grand Final coming up this weekend, so to come in underneath him, learn off him and work with Jimmy (Dymock) as well will be good.”
Not just a Gold Coast local and Burleigh coach, Lenihan is also a former Gold Coast player, having turned out for the Gold Coast Seagulls in the ARL competition in 1995.
The chance to work in the NRL in his home town is exciting for Lenihan, but also reinforces the Titans’ aim of using the best talent produced on the Gold Coast to drive the Club’s future success.
“Yeah it’s really exciting,” Lenihan said. “To take the step up and get into a full-time system is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and to do it here on the Gold Coast is great.
“For the Titans to look from within was great. To be part of an NRL club here on the Gold Coast is really exciting.”
Lenihan spent the back-half of the 2019 season working with the Titans as the Club tried to arrest a disappointing season. While he is yet to meet Holbrook personally, knowing he had the support of key people within the organisation made the decision to join the Titans even easier.
“I think (Titans Head of Performance and Culture) Mal (Meninga) might have had a bit of input there,” Lenihan said. “To have the ability to come in here and have the opportunity to learn a bit more was good.
“To have those conversations with Justin gives you a bit of confidence, so it’s exciting what is ahead.
“There is positive change at the club, and there is certainly a lot of improvement in us.”
And despite being a relative “rookie” on the NRL coaching scene, Lenihan won’t have any problems making his opinions heard – literally.
“It’s only new to the people here,” Lenihan said of his trademark booming voice at Burleigh training.
“The people at Burleigh are well aware of it. Half the time I don’t even know I’m yelling.
“I might have to tone it down a bit at the start.”