Titans coach Justin Holbrook has had time to work with his players after a painful loss in round two.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook has had time to work with his players after a painful loss in round two.

Lockdown gives Titans chance to wipe slate clean

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook believes the Titans will be a better team when the NRL season reboots following a brutal introduction to the big league.

The Titans will head to Townsville on Friday to face North Queensland in Round 3 of the condensed 2020 premiership.

It has been more than two months since the Titans suffered a humiliating 46-6 loss to Parramatta in the second round - the day before the premiership was suspended.

The heavy defeat at home soured the pre-season optimism around Holbrook's arrival as the Titans' new coach after the club collected last year's wooden spoon under Garth Brennan.

 

Titans coach Justin Holbrook has had time to work with his players after a painful loss in round two.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook has had time to work with his players after a painful loss in round two.

 

Holbrook used the COVID-19 season shutdown to overhaul his team, making mass changes to the line-up for the Cowboys showdown at QCB Stadium.

With a new-look draw erasing what was originally a daunting six weeks to start the season, the Titans have a much better opportunity to kickstart the Holbrook era.

"We're as ready as we can be, we've done as much at training as we could," Holbrook said.

"We definitely have (made improvements). That's been really important.

"We're going to have a few positional changes and changes in our team.

 

Ash Taylor will shift to five-eighth for the Titans clash with North Queensland.
Ash Taylor will shift to five-eighth for the Titans clash with North Queensland.

 

"Had we gone from week two to game three we only would have had three training sessions. We've been able to have three weeks of training and then next week as well.

"We've had six weeks off to have a good think about the best dynamics for our team moving forward and a few weeks to put it in place.

"I definitely feel we're in a much better position than we were previously."

Holbrook has made significant changes to his line-up as he searches for a winning formula.

Million-dollar halfback Ash Taylor will shift to five-eighth to accommodate the elevation of Burleigh Bears No. 7 Jamal Fogarty, last season's Intrust Super Cup player of the year.

 

Keegan Hipgrave replaces Bryce Cartwright after the latter’s anti-vax stance cost him training time.
Keegan Hipgrave replaces Bryce Cartwright after the latter’s anti-vax stance cost him training time.

 

That will move regular pivot Tyrone Roberts to fullback, Phillip Sami to the wing and a new-look centre pairing of Tyrone Peachey and Dale Copley will replace Kallum Watkins (Super League) and Brian Kelly (dropped).

Firebrand forward Keegan Hipgrave replaces Bryce Cartwright in the back-row after his anti-vaccination stance saw him miss a week of crucial training.

 

The Titans will play the first of their "home" games at Suncorp Stadium against the Wests Tigers on June 7.

They will be based at the Brisbane venue for home matches for at least the first half of the 20-round season.

Originally published as Lockdown gives Titans chance to wipe slate clean


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