'I want to be the NRL's best centre': Hoffman
Former Kiwi international Josh Hoffman wants to make up for an 'exhausting' first season at the Titans by becoming the best centre in the NRL.
Despite not featuring in any of the Titans' pre-season fixtures due to a flare-up of his right knee that was operated on at the end of last season, Hoffman is almost certain to be named at left centre for Round 1 against the Knights, edging out promising 19-year-old Brian Kelly.
Arriving as the club's marquee signing from the Broncos last year, Hoffman was one of only two players to feature in every game for the Titans last season and was solid without ever being spectacular.
Commuting to and from Brisbane as his wife was expecting their second child midway through the season, Hoffman said the kilometres on the road and sharing the fullback duties with William Zillman made it a hard season in which to get settled.
The Hoffman family will make a permanent move to the Gold Coast once the club's new training facility at Parkwood is up and running and the soon-to-be 28-year-old says he will start 2016 with some lofty goals.
"This year with the positional change I want to try and be the best centre in the NRL," Hoffman told NRL.com. "That's going to be a tough job and hard but it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to.
"I believe that I've got a lot to give in this game and hopefully we can string some wins together for all our fans out there.
"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable than what I was last year. Moving into a club where there were a few distractions going on, it was a bit hard to get my mind set, especially making the drive from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and the positional changes and coming here with the expectation that I wanted to play fullback.
"Moving around from fullback to centre was exhausting, also driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and more certain that I've been put in a team and I've got a bit of certainty about what position I'm going to be playing.
"It was disheartening finishing down at the bottom of the ladder but it was actually a bit of a relief as well to finish the season off with the injuries and stuff that I had.
"I was just looking forward to a bit of downtime with the family because I never really got to see them much with the amount of driving that I did down here."
Ironically, it was the downtime on a family holiday to Disney World in America that led to some setbacks with his right knee that put his availability for Round 1 in jeopardy.
When he returned to training the knee was causing some discomfort and then after the Christmas break he needed to have fluid drained.
His training load has been carefully managed ever since but he has no doubt that when he runs out against the Knights onto Cbus Super Stadium next Sunday that he will be physically and mentally ready to play.
"Mentally I'll be ready, definitely," Hoffman said. "I've always prepared myself well from the start.
"Come Round 1 my mind's ready to play, my body is ready to play, it's just a matter of getting the injuries right and trying to get them ready as well.
"I'm confident in our trainers. 'Fordy' (Titans high performance manager Matt Ford) will have a program there set for me to do that will imitate the game style.
"I'll do a bit of game fitness in between with a bit of conditioning and hopefully it works for Round 1.
"I'm really confident and looking forward to this year. The boys have been training really hard and we've been put in some uncomfortable positions. Going to army camps and doing team activities and things that we don't normally put our bodies through.
"The boys are really confident, we've got a great crop of players and some new signings and really looking forward to it."