Bird our leader say Titans players

It is one of Neil Henry's most vexing decisions ahead of the start of the 2016 Telstra Premiership in March but Titans players insist Greg Bird remains the most natural choice to be named captain for the upcoming season.

The Blues and Kangaroos star is by far the most highly credentialed player on the Titans roster but the combination of suspensions totalling 29 weeks since his debut in 2002 and off-field indiscretions that saw the co-captaincy stripped from him in December 2014 makes any decision less than straightforward.

Luke Douglas, William Zillman, Canberra recruit David Shillington and local product Ryan James are others capable of filling the void created by the departure of Nate Myles to Manly but James himself believes there is only one man for the job.

"I think Birdy is a great leader," James said. "As soon as it comes to competition – he mightn't be the fittest or be able to do all these things the best – but as soon as it comes to a competition and the game he can take it to that next level.

"He mightn't be playing the best but then he can just go out there and kill an Origin game.

"He's just one of those people that has that aura as well and he's probably the front-runner because he has got that respect from all the boys.

"He can bring everyone together and has just got that natural leadership about him."

Senior figures are few and far between at the Titans in 2016 as they look to usher through a new wave of young talent to take the club forward over the next five years.

With that in mind coach Neil Henry targeted seniority in much of his recruitment over the off-season, signing Canberra's David Shillington, former Knights forward Zeb Taia, Rabbitohs premiership-winner Chris McQueen and one of the founding members of the Titans in 2007, Nathan Friend.

Due to turn 35 the week prior to Round 1 and powering through his 15th NRL pre-season, Friend's dedication to fitness is proving an inspiration to the younger members of the group who dread being on the end of the 'Friendy stare'.

"He's a different sort of leader," said James.

"He just gives you this look and demands it so he doesn't really say much in that respect. But then you look at him and you know that he's demanding that respect from you. He's a great leader.

"He has great leadership around the club and he was here when the Titans came third in the comp and he really just has that leadership and knowledge.

"He can read the game really well and he can read players and he just has that aura about him where people respect him.

"He's just one of those players that you want to play with and be around and it's great to have him back.

"He's always been fit and always been that person that strives for perfection so if we can all take a leaf out of his book the club will be better."

After four years at the Warriors Friend said he was happy to adopt a senior role at the club where he played exactly 100 games over five seasons between 2007 and 2011.

"I come to training to try and get the best out of myself and in the process I try to encourage people around me to improve and I guess that probably demands a senior role.

"I went to New Zealand on a three-year deal which ended up being four and I looked after my body and it's returned the favour and allowed me to continue my footy. It just so happened that there was an opportunity to come back here to where I had five great years."

Video first featured at titans.com.au