Titans Head Coach Justin Holbrook discusses five hot topics ahead of tomorrow night’s season-opening clash with the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.
1. The battle for the No.9 jersey between Mitch Rein and Nathan Peats
I think they are both very good players with different strengths, but Mitch has just got his nose in front there I guess. He has been terrific for us all pre-season. He is a great little competitor, as is Peatsy. There wasn’t much in it (between the two), but (Rein) got the start.
2. Injury update on AJ Brimson and Moeaki Fotuaika
(Brimson’s injury) is a tricky one. We just have to get his back to settle. Some days it is really good, and others days it’s not. It is a hard game to play, rugby league, if you’ve got a sore back.
It is not ideal that’s for sure. He is a great player, I think he is a real livewire – and one of the best players in the NRL I think he will be. But we just can’t get him on the field. I don’t know a timeframe yet.
I think (he is frustrated). I am probably more frustrated than him. We can’t help it.
It is hard because you can’t keep pushing him, because it makes it worse. So we have got to try to let it settle as quick as it can and then we will get him out there when we can.
I don’t think (it will be months). I hope not! It should only be a couple of weeks probably.
(Fotuaika) is a good chance (of playing next week). He has been training great with us and probably could have played this weekend.
But he hasn’t had a great pre-season, so we are giving him another week. He is a good chance next week.
3. What he’s expecting from the Raiders
They had a great year last year, they nearly won the competition. We are expecting a tough game, that is for sure.
I am not expecting them to play too differently when they have had success like that.
They do have a number of changes, which I think is good for us. It is a good time to get the opportunity to play them down there.
They are still a very dangerous side. (Josh) Hodgson and Jack Wighton are two fantastic players, and they have a big forward pack.
So even though they have had a few changes, the guys they have brought in are good as well. We know it is going to be a tough game.
4. Embracing the underdog tag
We have no choice, have we? Where we finished (in 2019), we are obviously going to be underdogs.
It doesn’t worry me. I don’t care if we are favourites, if we’re not favourites. It is about playing well on the day, and that is all I worry about
5. The Titans’ style of play – natural game vs structure
I think both is important. You have got to have a structure to know what to do, but then I want them to have the freedom to play.
We have such a skilful side here. We showed some of that in the Nines, and we showed it against Brisbane. I don’t want to cap the guys from playing.
You’ve got the variables you can apply when you have the ball. Defensively you can’t – you have to know what you are doing there. We have worked really hard in that area.
But in terms of attack, we have some real strike there, and I want them to play.