With the COVID lockdowns of the last 12 months, physically being on the Gold Coast hasn't been easy for Mal Meninga, but that hasn't stopped the Immortal from playing in a key role in the club's continued transformation.
Meninga recently visited Titans HQ and sat down to discuss his focus areas over the last year, the building blocks he is putting in place and what Titans fans can look forward to in the future (watch above).
What has your role focused on over the last 12 months?
Predominantly around the recruitment and retention area. Obviously the football department, I think we made some really important personnel changes (off-field) and aside from that, obviously the recruitment area and getting the right people into the right positions is really important. It doesn't mean that you are going to have immediate success though, that's the other thing about getting your systems right and your processes organised. I think that everything we have done, we are heading in the right direction, there has been no backwards steps, it has always been forwards and I think all of those personnel acquisitions have been really healthy for the club.
What do you look for when recruiting, beyond the on-field?
I think work ethic is really important in our game and the sense of humility. The Club is bigger than the player and the game is bigger than the club - that type of attitude. We delve into research of their families and if their family network is strong and those around them and their upbringing, that's all important.
How important is the JTS program?
JTS is your foundation, that's your building blocks - if you're building a house that's your stumps and your floor. You need to get your pathway and your development programs right because they are crucial to your development and success. It is important that kids coming through can see this pathway and that of course creates great support in your local region.
What do the Club's School partnerships bring to the Titans?
The School programs are critical. Our Palm Beach Currumbin, Keebra Park and now Marsden (partnerships) have had long success but it has only been recently that we have formalised a relationship where we help them and they help us.
What can you tell Titans Members and fans about where the Club is going?
To the Members and fans, we have made some huge inroads in the last couple of years. We believe we have got the right system in place now, you can always improve of course, but we believe our top 30 roster is getting stronger. The weight of expectation puts pressure on individuals but it is around handling that. The more games you are exposed to that kind of scenario, the better you are going to get, so patience is going to be the key.
What can the team expect from the Raiders this weekend?
They are going to be competitive. They are a strong footy club and that's where we aspire to be, we want to be consistent. We want to be playing in finals every year and that's where the Raiders are with their roster - a strong forward pack, great depth, great halves and some exciting outside backs. They are a formidable footy team, so if we can compete against them we are heading in the right direction.
Where I sit, I am a Titans man now, when they do play against us I will be supporting the Titans and I will keep my fingers crossed that we do really well and win that game. I honestly hope that (as a former Raiders player) it is a Raiders, Titans Grand Final sometime soon.