After a year marred by injury and controversy, top-to-bottom change has been a welcomed arrival to the Gold Coast Titans, according to NSW Blues hooker Nathan Peats.
A tumultuous off-season stretched as far as club ownership, with Rebecca Frizelle and Darryl Kelly’s successful bid given the green light last week.
The Titans also installed a new coach in Garth Brennan. Luke Burt joined as his assistant, and Hayden Knowles, Craig Catterick and Scott Campbell were added to the physical performance team.
The club also parted ways with marquee man Jarryd Hayne, who has returned to the Parramatta Eels.
With so much change comes a trip into the unknown for a Titans club that will field one of the youngest squads in the Telstra Premiership next season.
While youth will bring energy and a fresh approach to training, Peats knows he will need to guide the up-and-comers.
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“There’s not too many experienced players in the side. It’s up to players like myself who have been around for a couple of years now to help the young kids out. There’s only one player over 30 in the whole squad and a lot of fresh new faces,” he said.
“We are young and enthusiastic as a squad and we are learning and trying our best at training. People are competing for positions which makes everyone work hard. It’s been good.
“No-one has come late this pre-season. No one has stuffed up or showed up at the wrong place or missed a session. Everything has been really crisp and everyone has been turning up to training two hours early.
“Everyone is keen and competing against each other. That’s a healthy squad and that’s what you want to have these days.”
The 27-year-old, who made his Origin debut in 2017, dislocated his shoulder twice last season and went under the knife following a loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in round 25.
Peats has been limited throughout the summer following the procedure to repair a tendon, but is confident he will be ready for his side’s final trial.
“I can do all the skills and all the fitness. I’m starting to get a bit more involved in the football stuff, but the contact I will start after Christmas. I’m in no rush to do that. I have seven weeks after Christmas to get right and I have a plan in place which I will stick to and I will be fine for the last trial.”
The Titans welcomed Peats’ former Eels teammate last week when they announced Sydney Roosters outside back Michael Gordon had signed a two-year deal.
Gordon, who hails from the Tweed Heads region, will add much needed depth and experience to what is a very young Titans back line.
“I played with him [Michael Gordon] at Parra and I know how much of a leader he is and he is a good fella off the field. He is not loud or flamboyant. He will good for the outside backs and he goal-kicks as well which take some pressure of Ash [Taylor].”