Justin Holbrook has been tasked with turning Telstra Premiership cellar dwellers into finals contenders in the space of two years as Titans officials rule out a roster overhaul over the off-season.
Holbrook was on Wednesday night announced as the next coach of Gold Coast’s NRL team but the length of the contract dictates he will be judged on immediate results and not the promise of improvement with a revamped roster.
In the media release confirming Holbrook’s appointment, the terms stated his tenure would be for "at least the next two seasons".
When predecessor Garth Brennan was signed to an initial two-year deal in 2017 the language used centred on his qualities as a "development coach" but Holbrook will be expected to get results with what he’s got.
Recent big-money signings such as Tyrone Peachey, Shannon Boyd, Leilani Latu and Bryce Cartwright have failed to live up to expectations while halfback Ash Taylor has fallen well short of his lucrative contract value.
But Holbrook’s prospects of a long stay at the Titans will rest with what he achieves with those players and the rest of the current squad rather than anyone else he can bring in.
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Of the team named to face the Roosters on Sunday only Michael Gordon, Ryley Jacks, Jack Stockwell and Brenko Lee remain without a deal for 2020 but CEO Steve Mitchell is adamant they have a squad capable of contending under Holbrook.
"If you work for two years you're going to have a feel for how the guy's relating to the players, how the playing roster is responding,” Mitchell said, confirming Holbrook will be on the Gold Coast when pre-season kicks off on November 4.
"I think the roster that we've currently got is very coachable. Have a look at it on paper.
"That will be one of his first challenges, getting our current roster up and going and getting them playing to their full potential.
"There's no reason why that roster that we've currently got can't play finals."
Hoping to break a dangerous cycle that many clubs fall into of dramatic changes to the playing group with each change of coach, Titans officials are determined to remain on the path of promotion of local talent in hand with judicious recruitment.
Holbrook’s task will be to instil a culture within the NRL squad that will for the first time bring long-term sustainability to Gold Coast rugby league.
"Leadership and culture are fundamentally important to the way we're going to go forward," Mitchell explained.
"Being able to grow that player cohort, get the best out of them, make them work together, create a culture of high performance and accountability. Really pull the best out of the guys we've got now and the juniors we've got coming through in our development systems."
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Brennan’s initial two-year contract was extended for a further season at the end of last year and Mitchell said that Holbrook’s evaluation would be ongoing, affirming the club’s desire for the 43-year-old to lead the team well beyond the next two seasons.
"We want him here for a long time. We want a coach that can coach us over five years and longer," Mitchell said.
"We'll have a feel for where he's going to be after that."
Holbrook will work with head of performance and culture Mal Meninga on the make-up of his coaching staff but NRL.com has been told interim senior coach Craig Hodges will be leaving the club at the end of the season.