The Titans boast a new coaching staff and upgraded facilities at the Club’s High Performance Centre at Parkwood, but Ryan James says it could be the dressingroom mirror that has the biggest influence on the Gold Coast’s ability to climb off the premiership canvas in 2020.
James and the rest of the Titans are back at training this week for the start of their pre-season campaign, with the majority of the squad meeting new Head Coach Justin Holbrook and Senior Assistant Coach Jim Dymock for the first time at a team meeting on Monday.
The Titans’ other Assistant Coach, Jim Lenihan, is already well known to the playing group after working with the squad late last season, and for his premiership-winning ways with the Burleigh Bears.
James said he was excited about working with Holbrook, and looking forward to the Super League premiership coach extracting the full potential out of a Titans squad that underperformed badly in 2019.
But for all the rugby league nous that has arrived at Titans HQ over the past few weeks, James said it would be the willingness of each player to take a good look at themselves and their performance, and take ownership of what the Gold Coast produced last season that would be crucial to the team’s success.
“We know what we did last year. We know where we finished,” James said. “The only people that can change that is us.
“A lot of the blame has been on everyone else, but it is the players that go out there and perform every week, that go out there and win or lose games.
“When it comes down to it, we are the ones that go out there and win games, so it all really relies on us.
“We need to go out there and put our best foot forward for Round 1.”
James said Holbrook and the coaching staff had spoken to each Titan individually, to get each player to nominate areas in their own game they felt needed to improve.
“He is just a down to earth bloke,” James said of Holbrook. “He knows his footy.
“He was asking what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to work on. We know our game the best, and if they can put things in place that helps us, then that is definitely a plus.
“It is about knowing your players and being able to get the best out of everyone. That is the hard things about footy – just knowing what makes people drive.
“That is what Justin is going to have to do over the first month or two, just getting to know the plyers and what is driving them.
“Winning footy game should be enough, playing NRL should be enough.
“(but) it is just about making sure that we get those little things right that can get an extra 10 per cent out of someone.”