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Last word: Time is now against the Cowboys

Justin Holbrook is under no illusions it's now or never for the Titans.

Needing nine wins from the remaining 12 games of the regular season to get to the magic number of 26 points to be any chance of playing finals footy, the Gold Coast coach knows it's crunch time to turn things around to ensure they're still alive past Round 25.

"We're only halfway through the year and we're not happy where we sit. We're not happy with some of the losses we've had," Holbrook said.

"Obviously we're halfway through the comp now at three wins and nine losses and we have to reverse that and go nine and three.

"We've got plenty of opportunities to do something about it and we've got to start that now."

'Really hard learnings for us at the moment' - Holbrook

After conceding a 24-4 half-time lead to go down to the Broncos last Friday, the Titans mentor is focussed on bouncing back in another Queensland Derby.

"We've got to get them up from last week's loss, but in that first half... to lead like that is some good signs so we have got it in us. We've just got to do it for 80 minutes," Holbrook said.

"I think playing on Thursday - the first game of the week - is good for us, because obviously it takes a few days to get over the loss.

"The next best thing you can do is go out and play well and we've got a short turnaround and we get to play tonight, so that's the best thing we can have after the disappointing loss last week."

Only missing inspirational captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to Origin duties, opposed to the Cowboys who have four away in the Queensland camp, Holbrook is still wary of his red-hot opposition, especially with barnstorming forward Jason Taumalolo returning from injury.

"We've just got to prepare as best we can. We've got Tino out and obviously Dave (Fifita) is also out injured, so we're missing a couple and they're missing four," Holbrook said.

"They still have a really strong side, so we know we have to play well tonight, even though they're missing a few and it's really important for us to get the win."

With the skipper getting ready to face the Blues next Wednesday, tonight's clash sees the Titans appoint a temporary captain to fill Fa'asuamaleaui's void, with Gold Coast local AJ Brimson set to lead the side in the clash against the Cowboys. 

'It's a big honour' - Brimson

"I think AJ's really grown this season and he's helping Tino out a lot during games and when Tino goes off, I sort of give him responsibility," Holbrook said.

"Everything what he said in our review around staying calm and clear, especially when things aren't going our way.

"I thought long and hard about it. Obviously, we've got Isaac Liu who's a tremendously experienced guy and he will just continue with his role behind the captain,"

"For AJ, he wants our club to do so well. He's a local player and he's really hurt at where we sit at the moment.

"So for all those reasons, it made it a clear choice and it's well deserved for him to lead us out tonight."

Don't miss the latest chapter of the Queensland Derby between the Titans and Cowboys. Click here to grab your tickets!

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.