McQueen's hard truth for Titans youngsters
He saw the transformation of South Sydney from under-achievers to premiership threats and Chris McQueen believes the only way the Titans can become a finals contender is through sheer hard work.
After a horror start where they invited the clinical Storm outfit to take control of the game with two errors and a penalty inside the first 10 minutes on Sunday, the Titans fought their way back into the contest and scored twice to lead 10-6 approaching half-time.
But a further error and a lapse in concentration gave Melbourne all the impetus they needed to hit back quickly and in the space of a few minutes a four-point lead had become an eight-point deficit.
Prior to Michael Maguire's arrival at Redfern in 2012 the Rabbitohs had qualified for the finals just once in 20 years and McQueen said the rise to a preliminary final in his fourth year at the club was based on a simple formula.
"Hard work; a lot of hard work," McQueen told NRL.com. "From 2011 to 2012 at Souths, [training] went up one or two levels. It was hard work and we're doing that here but it's about doing that regularly and consistently and that's something that a lot of the young guys haven't done yet.
"It's only Round 2 and we were probably playing against one of the benchmark teams so those errors will happen.
"A footy season is a roller-coaster, it's up and down, especially for a team that's trying to rebuild.
"We just have to be patient and stick with all the stuff that we've been doing and understand that it is a process.
"Trying to change a culture and turn a team into a winning side and a good side takes time and it takes time to build that confidence and that positive attitude. To know that when we get into an arm wrestle we can stay there and we can come out on top on a team like Melbourne or one of the better teams, the teams that have been doing it for a little while.
"We've got a lot of young guys and a lot of guys that have a fair bit to learn in terms of getting into the arm-wrestle and sticking in it."
Sunday's 34-16 defeat wasn't the first time that the Titans had surrendered a lead against the Storm in Melbourne, a venue where most opposition teams come away empty handed.
Four times in five previous visits Gold Coast had in fact led the Storm at half-time yet only came away with the one victory courtesy of a late – and contentious – penalty in 2014.
Cameron Smith's class to work his side back into the lead and then dictate entirely the early stages of the second half took the game away from the Titans but McQueen believes there were positives to be taken from a 30-minute period in the first half.
"We have to break the game down into two halves," said McQueen, who ran for 104 metres and made 31 tackles in his second game for the club.
"We didn't start too well and then we had those five minutes at the end of the first half where we conceded those two tries but there was probably a 30-minute block where we were in the battle and we were winning the battle.
"They got a couple of quick tries before half-time and I don't think we came out and got back into the arm-wrestle in the second half.
"We have to look at the game in two halves; one was how we want to play and how we should play each week and the other half was what will happen if we don't play like that."