Patience is a virtue for Jamie Feeney.
Seven months after being given the keys to the Gold Coast Titans' inaugural NRLW side and countless COVID-19 disruptions later, the astute coach is filled with glee to finally get going with building Queensland's newest elite women's rugby league team.
'It’s a privilege to be here' - Feeney
"I’m very excited. It’s probably the longest off-season we’ve ever had, especially when we got started way back in June and then had a fair break," the 132-game former NRL forward said.
"We finally kicked off the other night, so I’m really excited and it’s a privilege to be here and all the girls are working really hard."
The current Australian Jillaroos assistant coach, who previously took charge of the Sydney Roosters NRLW side, admitted he was surprised to get a call from Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell asking him to be part of the new team, and comes with an aim to win.
"It's an honour and a privilege [to be the inaugural Titans NRLW coach]," Feeney said.
"To get the call from Steve to be asked first was an honour and kind of unexpected, because I didn’t realise the club was ready to come in so early.
"We’ve done a lot of hard work to make sure that we’ve got a good squad that’s not only here to compete, but hopefully win and that’s our plan."
With the recent team announcement instilling plenty of excitement for Titans fans, Feeney is hoping the healthy mix of youth and experience will help continue to develop rugby league on the Gold Coast.
"I wanted to make sure the best youth on the Gold Coast and in the South East area were here, but I also wanted to make sure they could be taught by the experienced girls," Feeney said.
"I’ve never played women’s rugby league so it’s good to have the girls that are experienced to help these girls.
"I’ve coached it, but I’ve never played it obviously, so it’s good to have those girls there to be able to pass down and give some of the learnings that they've had over the last few years or for some, over the last 20 years."
Breakout Queensland talents Destiny Brill, Tiana Raftstrand-Smith and Jetaya Faifua are all part of Feeney's lineup and the Titans NRLW coach is hoping to see those young players step up along with his entire squad.
"I just want to see everyone thrive," Feeney said.
"I really want the youth to pick up the skills and what we’re trying to teach them really quickly, but we’ve got some really quality girls who had breakout years last year in Destiny, Tiana and even young Jetaya [who played] on the wing for Burleigh and win a competition in her first season.
"So, the girls like that I’m hoping will step up to the mark and then obviously you’ve got your experienced girls like Tazmin [Gray], Karina [Brown] and even the old warhorse in Steph [Hancock] will be thereabouts.
"I’m really looking forward to those girls wearing our jersey with pride."
Not only does the Titans playing squad ooze with talent, but the club's coaching staff is one of the most experienced in the competition, with Gold Coast locals Tahnee Norris and Aaron Zimmerle assisting Feeney at the helm.
"When I originally got the role, Tahnee was the Burleigh coach and Zimmo was working at Tweed, so we wanted to have people from our feeder systems working in our club.," Feeney said.
"It just so happened that Tahnee became the Queensland Origin coach and Zimmo is her assistant, so we’ve got a really good quality coaching staff here.
"A couple of our performance assistants also work with the Indigenous All Stars squad and some of our trainers have worked with the Aussie squad before, so we’ve got a really good staff list and hopefully that will end up with some success on the field.
"But, there is a lot of hard work to be done before that happens."
In a unique situation in 2022 with not one, but two seasons being played due to last year's competition being postponed due to COVID-19; Feeney is hoping to create a winning culture at the start of the year and follow up that success when the team reforms.
"The first season is [about] learning how we want to play football and hopefully they’ll go out there and play that way and get some victories as well because that’s definitely the goal," the Titans NRLW coach said.
"We’re not just here to compete, but we’re also here to win.
"The second season will be to build on what we’ve put together in season one and hopefully if we go well enough and we get the victory, then the second season will be about keeping that trophy in our hands."
Honoured to be wearing the blue and gold and with plenty of hype and excitement around the new NRLW outfit, Feeney hopes he can deliver the club's first premiership.
"It’s really special. It’s a privilege to be here and be given the role and have the trust and faith of the club," Feeney said.
"With Steve [Mitchell], Dennis [Watt] and everyone at the Titans having faith in us to take care of these girls, hopefully we can bring home the first premiership for the club.
"Especially with the new logo. It’s exciting that we get to wear it for the first time, even before the boys."