Henry confirms: I want Titans job
He's only hours into the role and has a game to prepare for against the competition leaders on Sunday but interim Titans coach Neil Henry has expressed his desire to become just the second coach in the club's eight-year history.
Henry took the reins from foundation coach John Cartwright at the conclusion of Monday night's 26-18 loss to the Roosters in Sydney and will oversee the closing four weeks of the regular season in an interim capacity, a role he hopes to assume full-time from 2015.
Dally M Coach of the Year with the Raiders in 2008, Henry was appointed as head coach of the Cowboys in 2009 but was dumped six games before the end of the season last year despite taking North Queensland to the finals and after a season as Cartwright's assistant on the Gold Coast says he is ready to step up to the top job.
"I aspire to be a head coach, I've said that all along, and I'd like to stay on the Coast so we'll just wait and see what the board decide," said Henry, who had also been linked with the vacant coaching position at St George Illawarra.
"We've just talked about the interim coaching position and I said I was more than happy to do that. I expect I'll sit down with the board sometime this week, towards the end of the week, and have a bit of a discussion about my future.
"I don't know if there are other jobs floating around, that's for other people to make those decisions, but I certainly like being on the Coast, I've had a year with the team so I'm a bit more familiar and I'd like to be a part of the future of the club.
"I'd be excited and it would be a great challenge to take on the role."
With little time to prepare for the Sea Eagles, Henry doesn't expect to make any significant changes to the 17 that will take the field or to alter their playing style and suggested that over the next month he will continue to lean on Cartwright for advice.
"It's the nature of the beast. Every year there seems to be three or four coaches [who lose their jobs]. It is a bit of a merry-go-round really and it's unfortunate but it's just the way it is in a results-driven business," Henry said.
"The fact is every year, eight teams don't make the eight so you've got teams under pressure straight away and expectations are high at every club. It's been a difficult period of time, Carty's the foundation coach and he's got a very strong connection to this area and he wants to maintain that as well.
"He won't be lost to the club in the interim and certainly I'll be looking to use him even in the last four games. He's going to have a bit of a break now but he'll be around the place.
"It's a bitter-sweet way to get a job. I feel for 'Carty', I've been in that position before and he's left a tremendous legacy at the club and he's handled it really well and he's a mate of mine.
"It's sad but we move on and we have to try and get some results at the end of the season."
Monday night's loss rules the Titans out of finals contention for the fourth consecutive season and leaves them with only pride and the support of their fans to play for over the closing month of the season.
Only the Sharks have a worse record at home in season 2014 than the Titans' 2-8 and with games against the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs at Cbus Super Stadium in the next four weeks, Henry says the response of the players will provide an indicator as to their commitment to turn their fortunes around.
"It will be a real test of character for the team moving forward given who we have to play, starting with Manly and the Warriors away, Dragons away and finishing with the Bulldogs for our last game of the year," said Henry, who has an overall winning percentage of 46.2 per cent from 173 NRL games in charge. "Some quality teams and we need to try and get some results.
"My attitude is that they're paid to play football as professional footballers and I'm paid to coach. I think you should be able to take some of that emotion out of it and get on with the job and at times this year we've been able to do it but not consistently enough."