Kevin Proctor is determined to prove all the sceptics wrong in his return to the Gold Coast Titans captaincy, as coach Justin Holbrook revealed his new leadership model was fully endorsed by the club’s board.
Proctor was on Friday named team captain, with injured prop Ryan James handed the club captain title in line with the co-captaincy model adopted by new coach Holbrook.
Holbrook said the club’s board was in full agreement with his decision to promote Proctor to team captain three years after he was stripped of the co-captaincy for an off-field indiscretion whilst in camp with the New Zealand Test team.
Proctor knows the promotion will come with criticism, but the 31-year-old insisted he would prove his detractors wrong with his leadership in 2020.
“It’s a super proud moment for me and my family, after everything that happened I never thought I’d see myself in this position again so yeah to be back in this position I’m truly grateful and I won’t be taking it for granted,” Proctor said.
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“I think it will make me a bit more motivated this year to prove to everyone I can do it I guess. I’m just really determined to prove to everyone I can do it.
“I know there is going to be a fair few critics or sceptics about this decision but that doesn’t really matter to me, all that matters is what my teammates think about me and what the club and people I care about think about me.”
Holbrook said Proctor’s past indiscretion had no influence on his decision as he wiped every player’s slate clean when he arrived at the club in December.
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It was only two weeks ago when the coach began to give serious thought to who should lead the team and his choice was clear.
“I think how much the players respect him is the most important one and how they listen to him,” Holbrook said.
“Even with a croaky voice he gets his messages across to players and makes it clear.
“We’ll have our generals on the field which is generally you’re halves, fullback and hookers so he doesn’t have to worry about exact plays on the field, but in terms of motivating players to work hard and in training I’m confident that will flow out into games as well.
“Kevin’s great leadership is the way he goes about the way he trains, he has been consistent for a long time the way he plays and that’s what you want in your leader.
“You want a guy who is 8 or 9 out of 10 every week and we know that’s what we‘re going to get with Kev so it was an easy decision in the end.”
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While Proctor handles on field duties, James has been handed the title of club captain out of respect to the esteem he is held on the Gold Coast as one of rugby league’s great ambassadors.
James had surgery to repair the torn ACL in his right knee last Thursday and will miss the entire 2020 season as he recovers from his second knee surgery in as many seasons.
The 28-year-old said he was proud to have been included in the club’s leadership plans and would look to assist Proctor however he could this year as he goes about a rehab program aimed to be ready to play in round one in 2021.
“It’s great to still be part of it and I think the club has made a great decision with Kev,” James said.
“He is an experienced player coming up to 250 NRL games so he is just one of those players you look to on the field and a player you always seek advice from.
“If I can do anything to take pressure off him that is what I’ll be doing this year.
“Leadership comes in all different shapes and sizes, it’s always a learning curve, so this year will be another learning curve for myself and Kevin and it’s something I’m looking forward to.”