BRENNAN BRIM­MING WITH BE­LIEF

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT -

HOPE is in the air sur­round­ing the Gold Coast’s 2019 NRL prospects and fans are not the only ones show­ing more ex­cite­ment than usual.

“I’m count­ing down the days,” Ti­tans coach Garth Brennan beamed.

“Pre-sea­son drags on for coaches as well as it does for play­ers.

“I can’t wait un­til we start play­ing but in say­ing that, come Round 1 against the Raiders I am go­ing to have a headache on my hands pick­ing a team … and I think that’s why peo­ple are ex­cited.

“They look at the squad on pa­per and think how are they go­ing to fit all of that in?

“It’s a long sea­son and you need that depth if you want to be suc­cess­ful.”

Brennan (pic­tured) came into a tricky sit­u­a­tion when he was ap­pointed in Oc­to­ber 2017 to suc­ceed Neil Henry.

Morale was low af­ter the pub­lic feud be­tween Henry and Jar­ryd Hayne, and when the lat­ter quit the club soon af­ter, the Ti­tans were left with a mil­lion-dol­lar hole in their roster.

Fast for­ward 12 months and the good news has barely stopped. Mal Meninga is on staff, Steve Mitchell has joined as chief ex­ec­u­tive, a leagues club is in the works and a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment pro­gram has launched.

For nine fresh faces on the play­ing side of things, the next two weeks will be piv­otal to their chances of be­ing around the grow­ing pos­i­tiv­ity at Park­wood for a bit longer given train-and-trial con­tracts ex­pire at the Christ­mas break.

Troy Leo, Dy­lan Phythian, Chris­tian Haz­ard, John Palavi and Ja­cob Hind are the older con­tin­gent for whom one of the last two top 30 roster spots is in reach.

Kai O’Don­nell, Ben Thomas, Trey­main Spry and Ioane Seiuli are also tri­alling for de­vel­op­ment deals, with the lat­ter par­tic­u­larly im­press­ing.

Three play­ers – Jax­son Paulo, Dar­ius Farmer and Kea Pere – hold de­vel­op­ment con­tracts, with a max­i­mum of six able to be handed out on top of top 30 deals.

“I’m re­ally happy with all of the train and tri­al­lists,” Brennan said.

“Some­times it can be a bit dan­ger­ous bring­ing guys into your squad (if) they strug­gle and can’t keep up and bring the stan­dard of the ses­sion down.

“But I would have to say they’re cer­tainly adding to the ses­sions, more so than bring­ing it down.

“They are all hav­ing a red hot crack.”

IT’S A LONG SEA­SON AND YOU NEED THAT DEPTH IF YOU WANT TO BE SUC­CESS­FUL

GARTH BRENNAN

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