If it’s Churchillian speeches you’re after then AJ Brimson may not be your man, but if it’s non-stop effort for 80 minutes to try and get his team a desperately needed win then the new Titans skipper is happy to put his hand up.
With regular skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in Maroons camp, live-wire five-eighth Brimson takes the reins on Thursday as the Titans look to revive a season that is fast slipping away after losses in seven of their past eight games.
Now in his fifth season at the club, Brimson is a highly respected figure at the Titans and the 23-year-old is looking forward to the challenge of leading his team into the fray against the Cowboys.
“I’m pretty excited, it’s a big honour,” Brimson said on Wednesday.
“It’s good respect that the coach has shown me in how he views me as a person and a player so it’s exciting.
Titans v Cowboys
“Tino is a good leader and we’ll miss him this week but I’m excited for the challenge.
“I’m not going to do any massive 20-minute spiels before the game or change anything. I usually chat on the field anyway because of my position so I’ll just stick to that.
“The captaincy won’t add any pressure because I feel the pressure regardless, just because of how we are travelling as a team.”
After winning two of their first four games, against the Warriors and Wests Tigers, Justin Holbrook’s men have tasted victory just once more and languish in 14th position at the midway point of the season.
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Perhaps the most galling of their nine defeats came a week ago when they gave up a 24-4 half-time lead against the Broncos to go down 35-24.
Watching a replay of that demoralising loss was probably the last thing they felt like doing but Brimson is adamant some gain can come from the pain.
“We sat down as a team and went through the whole game in review, you watch the first 50 minutes and we’re the best team in the NRL and then it’s just minor things that seem to add up and have a big effect at the end of the game,” he said.
“There’s little moments in games and we seem to pile them up at the wrong time, it’s honestly not a hard fix, it’s more just a mental thing. We know we can do it, it’s just doing it consistently.”
One man the Titans will turn to in their hour and 20 minutes of need is fullback Jayden Campbell, who has started to hit his straps after three games back from a rib injury.
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Campbell’s instinctive attacking play and pure speed will be critical if the Titans are to break down a Cowboys defence which concedes just 12 points per game in 2022.
The 22-year-old son of club legend Preston Campbell is well aware Titans fans are doing it tough as their team struggles for wins but he has implored them to stick solid.
“We’re a young side, we are trying to build towards something, and if the fans stick with us in bad times then hopefully the good times come and they get to enjoy it with us,” Campbell said.
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“We need to start paying our fans back and getting some wins for them and what I want to try and bring to the team is energy and try to pick the boys up if they get a little bit flat.
“I don’t feel a lot of pressure [to come up with big plays]. The last few weeks I’ve just been going out and playing footy which has helped me a lot.
“We had an honest review on Sunday and watched the whole Broncos game. Our mentality is that we have to play an 80-minute performance of how we played the first 40 minutes and things can turn.”