Titans' bye bad timing for Proctor
After 17 rounds almost every NRL player would be grateful for a six-day break but after spending a month on the sidelines fully fit Titans back-rower Kevin Proctor has told NRL.com he would have preferred to have kept playing.
Three games back after serving a four-match club-imposed suspension for being embroiled in an alleged drugs incident in the hours after New Zealand's Test loss in Canberra in May, Proctor produced his best game as a Titan in last Friday's 20-10 win over the Dragons that kept his side's season alive.
When they come out of this weekend's bye the Titans will be faced with a scenario of needing to win at least six of their last eight games and will have a determined Proctor in their corner ready to make up for lost time.
"To be honest I wanted to keep playing because I've had a bit of time off lately but I'll come back fresh after the bye and hopefully all the boys will too," Proctor told NRL.com in the wake of the win over the Dragons.
"It's been a pretty tough couple of months for me and just being back on the field has been so much better for me mentally and this break's going to be good as well, get away with the family."
Numbers don't show the contribution Proctor made to Gold Coast's most recent win, his ability to shut down an Dragons attack sent down his side of the field overshadowed by the Titans' right edge's work at the other end of the field.
Between Jarryd Hayne, Konrad Hurrell and Anthony Don seven of the Titans' eight tries in their two wins in succession have come down the right edge but Proctor is more focused on making sure nothing gets through them defensively.
"We're really working well together and hopefully keep that going," Proctor said.
"I'll just try and lead the way with my line speed and my talk and hopefully getting all our spaces right and everyone doing their job on that right edge.
"When everyone's doing their job it's a lot easier game.
"They've taken a lot of confidence out of the last couple of games. We felt confident against the Tigers defensively last week and we wanted to build on that this week and we built on that and with our attack as well."
The return of Proctor in Round 15 completed the return of the Titans' key players with coach Neil Henry hopeful that both Kane Elgey and Leivaha Pulu will also be available to face the Sharks in Round 19.
"Kevin Proctor has been very good for us," Henry said. "Punching out another 80 minutes, he was in everything there too and having him back for a few weeks has been great for us.
"At least we've had the same players around now for a few games and that team cohesion takes a while.
"We've used 32 players and there are a lot of young guys that are just starting to get a bit of self-belief.
"Hopefully we stay healthy and get on a bit of a roll."
A hamstring injury earlier in the season saw Proctor join the ever-expanding rehabilitation group at the club for two weeks and he has no doubt that if the roster remains intact that they can make a charge for a finals berth late in the season.
"Just having a full-strength side on the field every week has been the difference for us, especially the last couple of weeks," said Proctor.
"It's hard to work that combination when you've got people coming in and out of the team. Having a solid base every week of the same team you can work together and build that combination.
"It's been hard throughout the year because we've had so many injuries and been struggling to do that but I think the last couple of weeks is a good stepping stone for us in the right direction.
"We need to [carry that momentum] really to save our season. The boys have taken confidence out of both of these games and I'm sure they'll take even more confidence going into the Sharkies game.
"We just need to build on those performances and hopefully get there."