Henry 'nervous' about Greenwood adjustment
Titans coach Neil Henry admits that the acquisition of St Helens back-rower Joe Greenwood less than two weeks before the start of the season comes with some anxiousness but remains confident the 23-year-old will quickly adapt to the demands of the NRL.
Having signed for the 2018-19 seasons Greenwood was granted an immediate release by St Helens who acquired Zeb Taia in a player swap, the timing of Greenwood's arrival now dependent on the processing of his visa application.
Conceding that Greenwood is unlikely to be on the Gold Coast in time to prepare properly for an NRL debut in Round 1, Henry told NRL.com that there are some nerves about replacing a proven performer such as Taia with a raw talent from the UK.
The Titans have depth in the back row with representative stars Chris McQueen and Kevin Proctor likely to start against the Roosters on March 4 and Henry said Greenwood may need time to adjust to the intensity of the NRL on a weekly basis.
"I'm a little bit nervous about how Joe will go but by the same token I've got every confidence in the players we've got already," Henry told NRL.com.
"Being a realist, he might take a while to settle in and come to terms with what's required week in and week out in the NRL but by the same token he might step straight up and play decent footy and hold his own spot straight away.
"He's certainly got the potential to do that.
"He would certainly come into contention [for Round 1] if he is available to play, maybe in the 17 somewhere.
"It might be that he can't be here until late the week before we play the Roosters and it would be a big ask to participate in the captain's run and then walk into the Roosters in Round 1. That would be a tall order, particularly for an edge back-rower.
"I would expect [a Round 1 debut] wouldn't happen unless we can get him here for a full week's training at least."
A good chance to be included in England's World Cup squad at the end of the year, Greenwood has played 61 games for St Helens since debuting as a 19-year-old in 2012 and said that an ambition to play in the NRL has burned within him for a number of years.
The Titans had competition from at least three other NRL clubs looking to secure his services and he said the time was right to challenge himself in the toughest rugby league competition on the planet.
"It was a tough decision, with me coming to Saints as a young kid but it's something that I've always wanted to do," Greenwood said.
"When I was younger I was always wondering what it's like over there. When we played in the World Club Challenge and playing against the Aussies you always want to test yourself and I've always wanted to see what it's like.
"It's something that I did think about and I've thought about it recently and the opportunity's come and I couldn't turn it down.
"Gold Coast have been really looking after me already so I'm looking forward to getting down and training with the boys."
Inaugural Titan and now football manager Anthony Laffranchi played with Greenwood during his stint at St Helens and recommended the tall back-rower to Henry.
For Greenwood, having a familiar face when he arrives at the club should also assist greatly with his transition.
"It will be good when I get over there because he's obviously someone who I know, I've played with and I can go to him with anything," Greenwood said.
"He'll know some of the stuff that I need to do so he'll probably take me under his wing.
"They want me to try and work with Kevin Proctor who has just come over as one of their big signings so it will be good to work with him as well this year."