Phillip Sami understands the steep learning curve that the Titans development players are on as they sweat through a scorching pre-season at Parkwood – because he has been on the same journey himself.
Sami this week recommitted his future to the Titans, signing a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Gold Coast until the end of the 2022 season.
Sami is excited by what lies ahead at the Titans despite the disappointment of the 2019 season, with the arrival of new Head Coach Justin Holbrook and assistants Jim Dymock and Jim Lenihan rejuvenating the squad looking to restore the team’s credibility in 2020.
Sweating it out alongside the Titans’ senior group are the Gold Coast’s four development players – Juwan Compain, Kea Pere, Ioane Seiuli and Toby Sexton – who are looking to impress Holbrook enough to earn an NRL debut in 2020.
Sami, himself a Titans Under-20s player who has now graduated to become a backline regular with 43 first-grade appearances to his name, said the step-up in intensity would be a shock for the younger players, but one which would prepare them for their dreams of becoming full-time NRL players.
“It is definitely tough – a lot tougher than 20s,” Sami said. “But the week-in, week-out stuff does play a part on you mentally as well as physically.
“I think the best thing players can do is just keep in shape, and when you go home, try not to think about footy too much.
“Obviously when you come in to training, you rip in and your body keeps in shape.”
Sami said he had been impressed with the efforts off all the Titans development players, and the “train and trial” contingent, so far in pre-season.
“They are all pretty good,” he said. “I don’t have an individual that has stood out for me. They have all ripped in, and that is all the players and the coaches want.”