Daniel Mortimer will start 2015 as the Titans' halfback but assistant coach Terry Matterson admits the lack of back-up is a concern.

Halves, centres a concern for Titans

Call it his Christmas wish-list but the man charged with reigniting the Titans' attack in 2015 concedes that there remains a couple of key positions where he would appreciate some additional back-up before the season kicks off.

Coach at Castleford in the Super League for seven seasons, Terry Matterson was lured back to Australia to link with Neil Henry at the Cowboys in 2012 and the pair have once again been reunited on the Gold Coast as the new-look coaching regime endeavours to take the Titans back to finals football for the first time since 2010.

Although there has been little use for the Steedens in the opening month of the pre-season, Matterson's role under Henry will consist largely on improving an attack that made the fewest line breaks in the NRL in 2014 and who scored more points than only wooden-spooners Cronulla.

Following the release of both Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair to Hull FC in the off-season, there are no recognised halves with NRL experience behind first-choice pairing Aidan Sezer and Daniel Mortimer while Brad Tighe (126) is the only member of the squad to have played more than 12 games in the centres.

It's a problem that Matterson would love to see fixed but he is unaware of whether there is room in the budget for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

"I'm not really across the salary cap. I haven't really been here that long so I'll leave that to those guys at the moment, it's probably something down the track that I'd like to get my teeth into," Matterson said.

"Obviously Sezer and Mortimer will be the starters in the halves, there's no doubt about that, but we need some people knocking on the door there and to put some pressure on as well.

"We've got that at hooker. We've got three hookers there - four with [Paul] Carter - and that's what you want. You want competition in all positions and we probably haven't got that in the halves.

"We've got a team here that's lacking a bit of confidence so it's our job to give them some structures and some confidence in what they're doing. We've got some people there that can do some pretty good things with the footy so it's important that we play to our strengths there.

"We've got three guys who are current State of Origin players so they're pretty crucial in what we're doing and we've got a new halves combination as such that needs to spend some time together."

In four games in the centres last season Dave Taylor showed an affinity for greater time and space but Matterson doesn't expect the 'Coal Train' to figure any wider than three men in from the sideline.

"We are fairly light out there. There are some opportunities for centres there's no doubt about that but whether the roster gets added to I'm not too sure," he said. "Dave is a State of Origin back-rower and I see him playing in the back row."

The other challenge for Henry, Matterson and new assistant coach Rohan Smith is to instil a mental toughness in the squad that will carry them through another arduous NRL season.

The Titans' strong start to 2014 was built on the back of gritty, hard-fought victories but the tables soon turned and they eventually lost seven games by eight points or less between Round 7 and Round 23 as they plummeted from the top of the table to finish 14th.

"At the moment we're building a real mental toughness and edge that when things do get tough and things aren't going our way that these guys are going to fight hard," Matterson explained.

"We're going to have some challenges throughout the year; they met some last year with injuries but couldn't quite get enough points to make the semi-finals. We've got to continue to get that strong, tough mentality and on the back of that we want to score more points and play a little bit more rugby league.

"Having your main men on the field obviously allows you to do that but they need to be more confident to do that on a week to week basis.

"They've had some troubles in the past and in the back-end of the season with injuries so we want to get this team back towards playing semi-final football, which is easier said than done. Every other team wants to play finals footy as well but there is a really great opportunity here to freshen things up with the new people coming in and we've got some new players as well so that's pretty exciting."