There is so much more to being an NRL coach than having NRL experience.
The coach we chose to lead the Titans – Justin Holbrook – has had NRL experience, he knows what is required from the first day of pre-season training to the last day of the club football calendar. But his other skill sets are what attracted us to him.
He has been a seasonal coach in control for a long period. He has done his apprenticeship, he has worked at clubs like the Bulldogs, Dragons and Eels, he’s coached the Junior Kangaroos and been an assistant at the Roosters.
Then you add in his exceptional work with St Helens in Super League. We believe he is ready.
There is a whole set of skills you need to have as an NRL coach besides coaching prowess.
Your ability to handle pressure and stress is paramount at the elite level. To have strong people, communication, leadership and teaching skills to name a few. To love what you do is really important as there is much duress a NRL coach is under - while it’s also strangely cathartic for them.
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People have asked why a two-year deal initially.
There are incentives built into his contract so Justin can have the job for as long as wants it. This is our desire, we will do everything possible to support him so he becomes a long term coach. But at the same time, we also want success, that's the very innate nature of a NRL club and its members.
He knows all of this. He also knows the Titans are not at breaking point.
We are in for the long-haul in making this club a great community club. We are focused on making the Titans a real success story, and dispel the theory that national sporting clubs won’t survive on the Gold Coast.
We needed the right person. We make decisions in the best interests of the club and our two owners, the Kelly and Frizelle families. They have put their reputations and hard-earned into the Titans and made many sacrifices for us to continue in our pursuit of excellence.
That’s why we entered into the process we did. We were the head-hunters. There were many justifiable worthy candidates. Our approach was exhaustive in our search for the person we wanted, we did our due diligence, we controlled the process and then we formally interviewed Justin Holbrook.
We were always very mindful of the speculation that surrounds such an appointment. We chose to keep it in-house at the Titans as we had been entrusted by the owners to find the right person.
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It was decided there is very little good in interviewing a whole range of people. What are the repercussions of not getting the job? More speculation, why didn’t they get it, they should have got it, why wasn’t he interviewed? I can go on about the what if’s and maybes.
At the end of the day, our decision was the only one that really mattered. We will easily live with that. We are employed by the club to make these types of decisions – and in this case probably one of the most important decisions in the club's history.
We canvassed that among ourselves, privately, confidentially and diligently.
And we got the right man to be our coach.