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Coaching staff focused on structures, not score in Eels trial

The Titans won't be too focussed on the scoreboard against Parramatta this weekend as they look to pressure test the change in defensive structures Des Hasler has implemented.

In the final hit-out before the season opener against the Dragons in a fortnight, the new coach couldn't have asked for a better opposition to be challenged with the likes of Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo and J'maine Hopgood leading the charge up front.

"The results really aren't important to us. Des has been saying that a lot this week," assistant coach Jim Lenihan told media at Saturday's captain's run.

"As long as we're working on our defence and the processes that we've changed to make more of an improvement in that area, that's all we're asking for.

"Going against Parramatta who are a really good side, they're certainly going to test our defence and it's a great opportunity to just put a bit of pressure on what we're doing and see how we're going and what we need to adjust going into the year."

Not only challenged by the Eels' mobile forward pack, the Gold Coast's depth will also be stress tested with the unavailability of Jayden Campbell and David Fifita due to injury, and Brian Kelly also being ruled out due to a virus that has swept across Titans HQ this week.

Despite the omissions, the Titans coaching staff has full faith in the squad doing their job after plenty of pre-season preparation in a multitude of positions throughout the summer.

"A lot of the boys have been playing a lot of positions and certainly with Harley [Smith-Shields coming in], we've been playing a lot of opposed so he's been doing as many reps as anyone else in that position," Lenihan said.

"I'm really happy for him to get an opportunity to start this weekend against Parramatta.

"A few boys have been a little bit crook... hopefully it doesn't take over us too much but it's probably better for us to get it out of the way now than in a couple of weeks' time."

Expecting a full house to roll through the turnstiles of North Ipswich Reserve, Lenihan - who was born in bred in Ipswich and started his career at the Jets - can't wait to return for Sunday's trial, which will be just as meaningful for fellow squad members Phil Sami and Josiah Pahulu who both also hail from the Bremner region.

"It's good to go back home. I really enjoy going back to Ipswich," he said.

"It's a place that really loves its rugby league.

"It's a blue collar place which really surmises rugby league and it's great to get back there and have a game this weekend."

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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.