New Titans to carry high standards
If Titans recruit Jarrod Wallace ever doubted whether he could trust his new teammates, being carried six kilometres on a stretcher through difficult terrain and in oppressive heat put any fears to bed.
Titans players were put through a variety of activities designed to foster team unity during their two-day Army camp at the Canungra barracks west of the Gold Coast last weekend, an exercise that many players credited for the spirit with which they played in 2016.
Wallace, Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats, Konrad Hurrell and Chris McQueen all missed last year's camp and were given a reminder of the values that the club now has at its core.
Players were asked to work together to achieve collective objectives during the camp, including fashioning a raft and either paddling it or swimming alongside for close to two kilometres fully clothed.
When they reached shore they were asked to carry heavy objects up through the rugged bushland but rather than helping his fellow Titans, Wallace became a 110-kilogram burden.
With Gold Coast's medical staff conscious of the management his groin issues require, Wallace was ordered to lay on the stretcher and trust that his teammates would get him to the finishing point and not leave their extra luggage behind.
"Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for the boys, the physios didn't want me carrying heavy stuff up the hill so I had to lay on the stretcher while the boys carried me," Wallace told NRL.com.
"You definitely don't want to be the one that is making the boys work even harder, laying on a stretcher while the boys are doing it tough.
"I said to the boys after that I was doing it pretty tough as well with how bad I got sunburnt."
For back-rower Zeb Taia it was the second time to Canungra with the Titans and he emphasised the importance of educating the newer members of the squad in the values that helped carry them into the top eight this year.
"We wanted to build on that and let the new players know that we need to live by our core values which is honesty, know your role and respect," Taia said.
"We want everyone to live by that. We did everything as a team on that camp, we didn't leave anyone behind. We made sure we helped everyone out.
"When someone was struggling no one was getting angry and that was the main focus, keeping our composure under fatigue.
"We all just want to work hard for one another and we don't want to leave anyone behind. That's going to definitely show in our games."
With international representatives Kevin Proctor and Dan Sarginson still to join the squad, building trust within the new-look roster shapes as the key factor in the Titans progressing further up the ladder in 2017.
As a member of the Broncos team that qualified for the Grand Final in 2015, Wallace knows the importance of trust within a team and believes that the Titans took significant strides in that area this year.
"Trust in a team is everything. If you don't have that trust then it just doesn't work," said Wallace.
"In 2015 there wasn't one person on that field that you didn't know was going to do his job.
"I remember the game against Melbourne where we had 11 sets on our line but it never felt like they were going to go through because you had complete trust in the guy beside you to do his job.
"And you could see this year that the Gold Coast had that and it's obviously why they had so much success and got to the finals for the first time in quite a while.
"There are a lot of young guys and a lot of new guys in the squad so when you put them in a situation where it's tough and they have to work together it can go either way but on the weekend they all got in and worked hard for each other and that's what you need."