Titans without Prince: Can Presto pick up the slack?
The Gold Coast head into Saturday’s clash against North Queensland minus captain Scott Prince and with history very much against them, but stand-in halfback Preston Campbell insists there is no reason why the side should suffer in his absence.<br><br>Despite their unbeaten start to the season, the Titans boast a woeful record of just four wins from 12 games without Prince and will start as $2.40 outsiders against Johnathan Thurston’s Cowboys outfit.<br><br>But Campbell told NRL.com he was looking forward to returning to the halves this weekend.<br><br>“I think the coach knows that [I can do the job],” Campbell said. “When I first came up here… we needed someone to play fullback but I actually came up to play five-eighth because that’s where I started.<br><br>“So ‘Carty’ (John Cartwright) knows that if he needs me to play there I’ll always put my hand up.<br><br>“There is a lot of pressure when you play halfback but I go into every game thinking that I’ve got 12 players around me.<br><br>“You only make it hard on yourself when you think that you’re on your own. Going in thinking it’s a team game makes it a lot easier for me.”<br><br>While Campbell acknowledged the impact Prince invariably has for the Titans, he said that the rest of the squad should know their roles well enough by now to cover for his absence as he nurses a broken thumb sustained in last week’s comfortable win over Canberra.<br><br>“Scott is obviously a great player and a lot of our game play goes around him, that’s no different to any side,” he said.<br><br>“We’ve got a structure in place and as long as everyone knows what they’re doing.<br><br>“This weekend I just have to do my job well and hopefully that’s good enough for the team.<br><br>“The best teams in the comp do that – they come out each week and do exactly the same job every week.<br><br>“They might change one or two small things depending on who they’re playing but other than that everyone just goes out and does their own job really well.”<br><br>The Titans will no doubt be looking to Greg Bird to pick up some of the slack, too.<br><br>Bird, who spent the 2009 season playing for Catalans in the English Super League while awaiting a verdict on assault charges, has struggled to make his usual impact since joining the Gold Coast this year but looms as a central figure against the Cowboys.<br><br>“Birdy is still working his way in but I think he is doing well with what he’s doing,” Campbell said.<br><br>“His job for us when he gets the ball is to tuck it under his wing and really get some good yards for us as well as being aggressive in defence, but being a five-eighth he can ball-play as well.<br><br>“We’re not looking for him to do too much more than what he has been doing but like I said he does bring that bit of mongrel with him.<br><br>“That’s something we’ve missed the past three years, as much as we’ve tried.<br><br>“You’ve either got it in you or you haven’t – and Birdy has it in him.”<br><br>Campbell said no decision had been made yet on who would handle the general kicking duties but pointed to Bird and centre Mat Rogers as providing plenty of options.<br><br>“We’ve all had a bit of a kick around at training but we haven’t spoken too much about it,” he said.<br><br>“Obviously it’s really important so I think that when I do get the opportunity I need to find the ground.<br><br>“I’m not the longest kicker in the world but I think finding the ground is more important than finding distance.<br><br>“Birdy can kick too and he has a really long kicking game. He can put the ball high too so he might be a good man to get the ball to.<br><br>“Again, it’s up to me to make sure that I get him some good, early ball so that he can put it into practice.”