Titans to get dose of Rabbitohs discipline
The man who helped to transform the Rabbitohs from perennial battlers to world champions is ready to administer some tough love in search of success at the Gold Coast Titans.
Strength and conditioning coach Sean Edwards is one of three major changes to the high performance unit at the Titans that will be headed up by Matt Ford (Raiders, Storm) and also includes former Broncos assistant Adam Paulo.
It's a major expansion of the unit that had been previously run by Dan Ferris with assistance by part-time staff and is aimed to ensure the Titans not only have the fittest squad in their history but one that is resistant to injuries throughout an arduous season.
Having come through the lower grade coaching ranks at Canberra alongside South Sydney coach Michael Maguire and current Titans coach Neil Henry, Edwards spent a further year working with Henry at North Queensland before linking again with Maguire to oversee the Redfern revolution from 2012.
Edwards' primary assignment on the Gold Coast is to transfer that winning South Sydney culture onto a Titans roster that hasn't played finals football since 2010 but said any success will be determined by the buy-in of the players.
"What Neil really wanted me to come and do was to come in and instil some discipline," Edwards said on day one of pre-season training.
"Obviously coming from the Rabbitohs and the Cowboys it's been very important to come from a winning culture so my goal would be to promote the culture, the discipline and set high goals and standards for the whole team.
"A winning culture simply comes down to the players. It's got to be player-driven.
"Obviously as coaches we steer the players in the right direction but we're just going to set high goals and high standards and I know the players will get on board and when the players do get on board they'll see the results.
"With those results success will naturally come."
Ford's formative years in strength and conditioning were also spent in Canberra before most recently a two-year stint in Melbourne working with the Storm.
Like Edwards, Ford has been recruited to instil a winning culture but said the aim is not to transplant what he saw at the Storm but to help bring out a positive Titans culture of its own.
"I learnt as much from the playing group down at the Storm as what they may have learned from me over the last couple of years," Ford said.
"Whether you can pick that up and take it to another club I'm not too sure and you don't always want to do that either.
"Every club in the NRL has got their positives and the Storm's is based around culture but I'm hoping that there are plenty of positives up here at the Titans that we can build on from the last few years.
"It's one thing turning up and training really well Monday-Tuesday but under fatigue, knowing that you can then back up Wednesday-Thursday-Friday and have that consistent, positive approach to training, I think that's really the key.
"Other than that I don't think there are any great secrets out there. If we can optimise the physical qualities of every individual in the squad we've got enough talent here and speed and plenty of exciting elements.
"If we get that formula right then we're heading on the right track."
For Henry, the expansion of a high performance unit is a step that he hopes will deliver him fitter athletes capable of greater levels of performance on a more regular basis.
"They have been out and experienced very successful clubs in the Melbourne Storm and South Sydney so they've got that experience and knowledge of what it takes to be a consistent performer in the NRL," Henry said.
"It will be great for our players to have their expertise.
"We have used a lot of players over the last two years; we've been up there with the most in the NRL. We're grateful for the board to be able to expand our budget in this area so that we will be now able to cater to our players a bit better.
"The big beneficiaries of all of this will be the players. We need to make sure that they're catered for and that we get the best out of them."