NRL coaches are judged on the performance of their team when competition points are up for grabs, not what they say or do in a pre-season.
That is why the honeymoon is well and truly over for Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan.
The Titans really need to start well with a win over the Canberra Raiders in round one. That is vital for the Titans themselves and especially for the new coach. He is the number one man under pressure at the club.
Garth's had a golden run in the media and he’s made himself available, which is a good thing.
It has been exciting times at the Titans with new owners on board. And Brennan has brought in some talented new recruits from the Penrith Panthers like Bryce Cartwright and Leilani Latu, and he's signed Michael Gordon from the Sydney Roosters. He's brought a lot of players with him which shows he has their respect.
Brennan did well to get the job and edge out some good coaches like Jason Demetriou, Terry Matterson and the Walker brothers, so he’s obviously done something right.
The Gold Coast is not exactly the most attractive club in the Telstra Premiership to coach but when you are in that circle of coaches, you want to coach an NRL team. Brennan got the opportunity and I hope he does well.
He was in the police force so he will bring a real discipline to the team. I don’t think he will, but he needs to make sure he doesn’t talk at the players and brings them along with him. Wayne Bennett was an ex-copper and he was good at that.
Last year, the Titans won games they shouldn’t have and they had a lot of injuries, so if they can keep that team together, they will go OK.
They haven’t performed that well in the trials so far and everyone is all over them, but that is a little bit unfair. I’ve been there and done that with trials and while you like to play well in them, you don’t read too much into the results.
I notice that Ash Taylor copped a bit of a hammering from the coach after the loss to the Warriors but I don’t think that was warranted. I think that was a mistake and not the smartest thing to do.
We all know how well Ash can play and he doesn’t need to be told after a trial match to pull his finger out. That is not something Wayne Bennett would do, not after a trial at any rate.
Pull Ash aside if he does have a problem with him and have a chat one-on-one sure, but don’t do it publicly. Ash should come out against Canberra and have a blinder, not because of what was said, but because he is their number one player and a real talent.
Across the board, coaches are judged on performance. You can’t tell me at the other end of the scale that Bennett is not under pressure. He needs to win a grand final, and rightly so. He would take that on the chin because he will be judged on when the Broncos win their next grand final. That is the expectation at Brisbane.
Brennan doesn’t have that pressure but he needs to win some early games. If they lose, the players need to rip in and perform well and show they are playing for the coach and each other. If they don’t and go out there and are all over the place, that’s when things will start to fall apart.
All the talk is over now. Brennan's had a dream run and now he needs that team to step up in round one.