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Holbrook puts Titans on notice at start of pre-season training

Incoming Gold Coast Titans coach Justin Holbrook has delivered a message to the players on day one of pre-season training that no spot is guaranteed under his watch. 

Holbrook met his new squad on Monday morning before speaking to players individually with injured Titans skipper Ryan James describing him as a "down-to-earth bloke who knows his footy" following their first encounter.

Where each player stands in Holbrook's plans for 2020 is sure to be at the top of the agenda.

"He said in the meeting nothing is guaranteed, you've got to go out and prove it," James said.

"It gives everyone hope they can be there round one. He was asking what we wanted to do and work on. He'll talk more [about that] in-depth later in the pre-season.

"It's one of those things – knowing your players and trying to get the best out of everyone. That's the hard thing about footy, knowing what makes people drive.

"That's what Justin is going to have to do over the next month or two."

Titans' top five tries of 2019

The Titans' woes in 2019 were well publicised with star halfback Ash Taylor's leave of absence in June compounded by coach Garth Brennan's sacking five weeks later.

Add a winning record of just four wins for the season and it was a virtual nightmare for the bottom-placed club.

James, who ruptured his ACL in April, was a spectator to it all and had little control over the team's results.

He's expected to return to the field this week six months after knee surgery to join the squad for skills sessions.

"It's good to have a fresh start and clean slate," James said.

"We know what we did last season and where we finished, the only people who can change that is us.

"A lot of the blame has been on everyone else but it's the players who go out and perform every week that win or lose games.

"Winning games and playing in the NRL should be enough [motivation]."

Holbrook's biggest on-field mission appears to be a decision on Taylor, while two of the club's local juniors – Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson – have rival clubs circling for their signature with the pair off contract after 2020.

The Titans have appointed recently retired fullback Michael Gordon to work with the outside backs next season, particularly the development of Brimson.

"He's here to help players like AJ and transitional players," James said.

"For someone to play 250 games the way he did, he must have done something right so the club has gone out for what they want. It's great to see the club look to him and invest in him in the future."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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