With the new NRL season due to get underway on 12th March, Rugby League World Editor Alex Davis kicks off a series of club-by-club previews, which we’ll be releasing on TotalRL.com over the next few days to get you up to speed on who will be leading the pack, who will be battling to avoid the wooden spoon, and why, plus predictions on where each team will finish.
Things can only get better for Gold Coast Titans. Last year was a disaster as they were rooted to the bottom of the NRL for pretty much the entire season.
And apart from their coaching appointment, there haven’t been many changes in the playing staff.
As mentioned, their main change is bringing in Justin Holbrook from St Helens as Head Coach but from the moment he was appointed, he was made aware that he would be working with a similar squad in 2020 that wasn’t good enough in 2019.
Holbrook’s most useful tool in attempting to turn around the Titans’ forwards will be Ash Taylor who has hopefully put last year and his personal problems behind him and can now concentrate on producing quality rugby. We all know he can!
Another ACL injury for key forward Ryan James is a huge blow for the club but they do have plenty of quality in the roster.
Queensland duo Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow add plenty of quality and experience to the pack, but the latter will be leaving for South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, Kallum Watkins be looking to use a full pre-season to rediscover the form that made him a key part of England’s 2017 World Cup Final team. Watkins didn’t cover himself in glory for the Titans during the final months of 2019 but whispers out of the club lead us to believe he could be in for a big year with the Titans this year.
Coach: Justin Holbrook
Justin Holbrook was brought in by the Titans after his success with St Helens in Super League.
He led the club to a Grand Final victory last year after it was announced that he would join the Titans in 2020.
He’s got his hands full if he wants to turn around the club’s fortunes with a very similar squad ready to take on the NRL this year. Last year was a write-off and if they’re not careful, 2020 could be the same.
Star Player: Ash Taylor
Ash Taylor’s absence for vast swathes of last year probably had a massive effect on the Titans’ rotten season.
But after time away from the club due to personal issues, Taylor (pictured below) is back, and boy do the Gold Coast need him.
He’ll turn 25 in the first week of the season so time is firmly on his side and if previous years are anything to go by, Taylor will be pivotal for the Titans if they want to climb up the table in 2020.
Rugby League World Predicts: 16th
First published in Rugby League World, Issue 467 (March 2020)