Justin Holbrook spoke to the media this morning before tomorrow’s clash with the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium. Here are the five big issues Holbrook touched on in the countdown to kick-off.
1. Corey Thompson’s Titans debut
“He is a natural fullback, and he has been playing the game for a long time,” Holbrook said when asked about Thompson being rushed into the team less than a week after arriving at the Club.
“I’ve got no issue, or hesitation at all (about starting him). It was always going to go that way. It obviously took us a bit of a process to get him here.
“He is a ready to go. He is a fit guy, he has been playing long enough now to slot straight in. Phil (Sami) has done a good job there filling in for us, but it is not his preferred position, and we do need someone who is a bit of a specialised fullback. That is why (Corey) is straight in.
2. What the Titans learned from the loss to the Rabbitohs
“We’ve just got to play better than we did last week,” Holbrook said. “We didn’t start well again, which wasn’t great. Outside of that, we competed hard but we have to be better for 80 minutes (against the Dragons).
“We let some soft tries in. Their first try could have been a knock-on, but we let him juggle the ball. We didn’t defuse a couple of kicks and had some disallowed tries ourselves.
“I thought we fought pretty hard after that, but we just weren’t ready from the start. It was disappointing not to back up the week before, but we have the chance to get back on track tomorrow.”
3. Dragons coach Paul McGregor’s comments telling fullback Matt Dufty to “join the Titans”.
“I did see that. It was interesting, because I am not sure (Dufty) had the opportunity to make that decision,” Holbrook said.
“Obviously we had been hoping to get Corey Thompson for a while now. So I guess when (Dufty) was asked (about joining the Titans), it would have been an easy answer to say ‘I want to stay here and fight for my spot’.
“It is up to Mary to motivate his own players, and he saw the opportunity to do that.
“But like I said, when Matt Dufty got asked that, his only answer could have been ‘stay here and fight for my spot’ because we were going to sign Corey Thompson. That would have made (Dufty’s) answer easy.”
4. Having a crowd of 2000 back in the stands at Suncorp Stadium
“It is another stage in us getting back to normal. It is great,” he said. “First and foremost, it has been great to get our game back so quickly. But to now being able to introduce some fans, I think it is awesome for everyone involved.
“The more steps we can take over the coming weeks, the better, it is good for everybody.
“For us, we were just happy to be back playing. We’re fine to travel up to Suncorp for now, but it will be great to be able to be back at Cbus as soon as we can.”
5. Keeping players outside of the Titans 17 match-fit.
“It is what every club wants – we want the players who aren’t in the 17 to be playing,” he said. “We are playing Brisbane next week, and we have already been talking to them about getting a scrimmage game going against them for those guys.
“They need to be playing – whether you are an experienced player or a young guy, you always want to play rugby league.
“It is hard for them to train only. They are doing a good job, they are training, and it’s hard for them.
“There’s no easy answer in that area for any club. We’ve got to get them some scrimmage games for them to force their way back into the side.”