Titans CEO Steve Mitchell believes the ''winning DNA'' of Justin Holbrook and his assistant coaches will guide the club over troubled waters folllowing Ryan Jame's season-ending injury.
Last week at training James ruptured an ACL for the second time in 12 months.
For any club, the loss of an inspirational captain during pre-season could prove a knockout blow but for the Titans, who finished last in 2019, it is additionally cruel.
Fear not Titans fans … not just yet anyway. Mitchell says Holbrook and assistant coaches Jim Dymock and Jim Lenihan are the right men to have at the helm.
"What you get in those three guys is real. They have been through tough circumstances and they are winners and that DNA is pretty special to have in a group," Mitchell told NRL.com.
"We are going to need to want to play for each other when we are up against a wall. Those three guys bring that and instil that.
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"The players understand that and know what they have got to do from an effort point of view."
Holbrook took over at St Helens in 2017 when they were mid-table and signed off in 2019 with a Super League title. His 80 per cent winning rate highlighted what a consistent team he created.
"I spoke for forty minutes on the phone to a player in England who was coached by Justin and he said 'he's the best coach I have ever had at an elite level because he builds on everything. I am doing well, and the stuff I am not doing well he brings along'," Mitchell said.
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"He said he was playing out of his skin for Justin because he builds confidence, works on the things that are fundamental to an individual and is honest."
Mitchell has been impressed with how Holbrook has interacted with the team since his arrival.
"What I see is one group that is tightly bound. There are no segregated groups," he said.
"The younger players and senior players are all part of the same group of elite athletes who are going through a program where they are all genuinely engaged."
Dymock, a three-time Dally M lock of the year in a 317-game career in the NRL and Super League, knows how to rise above adversity.
In 1995 he was part of a Canterbury side that came from sixth to upset Manly in the grand final with Dymock playing the game of his life to win the Clive Churchill Medal.
Lenihan, a former outside back with Gold Coast and St George in the 1990s, guided Burleigh to two Intrust Super Cup titles in the space of four years after transforming the Bears in his second stint as coach.
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"I went to Burleigh’s presentation night and there was that much emotion in the air you could cut it with a knife because the players were so sad to see Jimmy go and also so excited for him," Mitchell said.
"I thought boy, imagine if we could bring that to our current group of players … that absolute mindset of 'I want to play for this bloke and I love to play for him' ."
The Titans will need that mentality now James is out for the season.
"The squad is genuinely in a really good space mentally. Justin has that reputation as a coach who can connect with the playing group as individuals and a collective and from what I have seen it has been really encouraging," Mitchell said.
What I see is one group that is tightly bound. There are no segregated groupsTitans boss Steve Mitchell
"I had a chat to Ryan [on Monday] and true to form he said 'I’m on. Let’s get stuck back into work again'. He has just started his MBA at Bond University so he will see the surgeon, get mapped out what he has got to do and put his head down and go to work.
"I will bring him into the club where he will do some work around the commercial space and he has a natural inclination for that. Certainly from a community point of view the Deadly Choices guys will get him into that space too.
"I have had quite a bit to do with him in my time here and you can’t help but love the bloke. He is a wonderful bloke. My heart is bleeding for him."