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New Titans co-captains Nathan Friend and Will Zillman.

It's taken 14 seasons and 221 games in the NRL but veteran Nathan Friend says he is now in a position to handle the pressures of captaincy after he was unveiled alongside William Zillman as the Titans' co-captains for 2016.

Returning to the club that he helped to build in 2007, Friend has earned the admiration of the entire playing group over the course of his pre-season with his meticulous preparation and attention to detail amazing young players in the early stages of their careers.

It is this professionalism that made Friend and Zillman the standout candidates for coach Neil Henry who was also considering the likes of Greg Bird, Ryan James and Luke Douglas following the departure of Nate Myles during the off-season.

While nominating former Warriors teammate Simon Mannering as a leader who he has admired, Friend also acknowledged the toll the job took on the Kiwi skipper, Mannering making the decision to step down from the Warriors captaincy only hours before Friend's new leadership position was announced.

Friend saw firsthand what the pressure of captaincy did to Mannering but said he was honoured to accept the role at the club where he played exactly 100 games from 2007-2011.

"I played over in New Zealand with one of the guys that I rate highly and that's Simon Mannering," Friend said of leaders he has admired.

"He doesn't speak much on the field but when he does the guys listen and he's a leader. So hopefully I can do the same here on the Coast and guide the guys around.

"He got a fair bit of pressure from the media over there so I hope you guys (the media) heed that message.

"I wish him all the best. His health wasn't the greatest last year because of all the pressure that does come with the captaincy and obviously I understand that and look forward to it.

"This is the first time [being captain] hence why I am quite honoured and look forward to the role."

Heading into his eighth season at the Titans, leadership roles are nothing new to Zillman who has served as vice-captain since 2013 and has captained the team on eight occasions since 2012 for four wins and four losses.

The greatest challenge facing the 29-year-old is to play a full season injury-free, something he has been unable to achieve in each of the past three seasons.

In 2015 his season was brought to an end after just 10 games when he suffered a back injury that eventually required surgery but ahead of his return to football on Saturday against the Rabbitohs says his body is at 100 per cent.

"It's something that I really want to do this year, not just for myself but for the team now," Zillman said of getting through an entire season.

"I've had my operation last year and been pretty much back full training the last two months now so looking forward to the trial this weekend leading into Round 1.

"The back feels 100 per cent now that I've had it fixed up and to play consistent football and to play 24 rounds of footy is really what I'm looking to do."

With a relatively young roster, Henry said that it was important the club's two leaders embody what the club wants to stand for and to set the right example on and off the field.

With a relatively young roster, Henry said that it was important the club's two leaders embody what the club wants to stand for and to set the right example on and off the field.

"It's about consistency, preparation and how they conduct themselves. They're peerless that way," Henry said.

"They've got the respect of the group and a lot of experience at this level and a strong connection to the club. I think all of those are important factors.

"It's about how you conduct yourself to go about playing regular football and be at your best and prepare yourself the best for the team.

"That's a selfless attitude and those behaviours are observed by other players and hopefully they have an influence, particularly on the younger players in the club."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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