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'We've missed both': Lenihan welcomes back prop duo with open arms

Jim Lenihan hasn't underestimated the welcomed returns of both Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Jaimin Jolliffe this week as the prop duo prepare to face Cronulla at Shark Park.

With the skipper missing the past three weeks due to suspension and his front row partner having been sidelined with a hand injury since Round 19, the pair of powerful forwards have been timely additions for the Gold Coast engine room given Moe Fotuaika's one-week ban from last week's Warriors clash, and the Titans mentor knows how big of a role they'll play against the likes of Braden Hamlin-Uele and Toby Rudolf who will both start for the home side.

"It's good our sharpest tool in the shed is playing for us again," Lenihan told media when asked about his captain's return.

"He's big man and we've missed both props actually... him and Jimmy are going to be welcomed additions this week for us and is certainly what we need because of not having Moe."

Despite having finals aspirations out of arms reach now, the Round 24 clash isn't a write off for Lenihan's side, who have been focussing on changing the squad's DNA ahead of incoming coach Des Hasler's reign in 2024, with a particular focus on being a gritty and tough team, and a side that won't be bullied by other teams in the NRL.

"For us, it's about the way we hold ourselves in defence," he said.

"Everyone says we're a very good attacking side and attack doesn't seem to be a problem for us and it really isn't... what we've got to do is maintain a way to defend better and longer and keep ourselves in the game with our defence.

"I think we're shifting that way and that's what we're trying to achieve going into the back end of the year. Especially how we're hitting those markers that we think are important for us defensively.

"It's important that we're making adjustments now going into next year."

Again having a heavy internal focus to try and beat the Sharks at home, the interim head coach isn't naive to Nicho Hynes' influence as their chief playmaker, especially with added motivation after copping a fair share of criticism recently.

"He's been under a little bit of pressure too, so I'm sure he'll come out firing and try and prove everyone wrong," Lenihan said.

"They've got a really good forward pack and their backs are going really well, so there's a lot to worry about but we're playing at the moment, we're not focusing on the opposition.

"We're focusing on how we're evolving our game, what's important to us in defence and what's important to us at attack.

"There's a lot of things that we're still trying to achieve before the end of the year finishes up and hopefully we can get a scalp against some of the sides remaining in the finals hunt."

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.