Campbell predicts James will lead Titans into bright era
Gold Coast Titans legend Preston Campbell insists Ryan James can captain the club for the rest of his career and lead the club into a bright new era.
James, who was a standout as a player and leader in the stunning 30-28 comeback win over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday, had told NRL.com how Campbell, his former roommate, had been an inspiration to him on and off the field when he was a youth.
Campbell said James, who has played Telstra Premiership 116 games for the Gold Coast, was the right man to inspire the next generation of Titans.
"No one has played 200 games for the Gold Coast Titans and started and finished their career here but I’d love to see him do that and be a one-club man," Campbell told NRL.com.
"I want to see him as the captain for the rest of his career on the Gold Coast.
"Ryan is a lot older and wiser than when I played with him but even when he first came into grade, he was so respectful, and he was a leader.
"Even though he was told to do certain things, he always did extra to make the club and the team better. That sort of attitude is why he is the captain now.
"He’s a local junior and that is always important to have someone as your captain who has grown up here on the Gold Coast."
While cut out to be a leader, Campbell said the 26-year-old could learn from the best skippers of the modern game.
"Ryan makes the tough runs and the tough tackles, and he plays big minutes. There is no problem with him playing football," Campbell said.
"The hardest thing and only obstacle for Ryan will be keeping that consistency every week.
"That is what the great leaders like Cameron Smith, Darren Lockyer and Brad Fittler are and were. They lead by example every week. I have no doubt Ryan will do that. He’s a goer."
Campbell said he saw leadership similarities between James and inaugural Gold Coast captain Scott Prince.
"Ryan said [at the Titans season launch] how he would take advice from the senior players and their teammates and that is what Princey did," Campbell said.
"Your captain is not always the biggest talker. Princey was the same. His actions spoke louder than words and that is what Ryan does. He gets the team going.
"He is an aggressive player and that is what the Gold Coast needs, an aggressive leader. Then when they need someone who is understanding of the players’ needs, they have that in Ryan as well."
James knocked back the chance to leave when the club went through its well publicised challenges.
"Ryan has had opportunities to go to other clubs when he had the likes of Luke Bailey and Anthony Laffranchi ahead of him but he but the bullet and worked hard to make the team," Campbell said.
"He’s been here through the trials and tribulations. He’s seen it all. The thing I know about Ryan is that he wants to have a big year and see the club succeed.
"I’d love to see them in the finals this year and I reckon they will be. I’ve only been down to training a couple of times but there is a real buzz down there. It is a different scene."