Titans establish new CQ links through ý partnership

Reaching the pinnacle of rugby league takes a lot more than just being a good player.

Gold Coast Titans staff visited ý this week to meet with the School’s coaches and players.

A partnership between the School and the Titans was announced in November last year, providing valuable opportunities for both the School’s players and coaches to benefit from the expertise of the Gold Coast Titans club.

Titans Elite Player Development Manager Jamie McCormack oversees junior pathways of players from 13 to 19 years of age while Lane Bird, Future Titans Northern Pathways and Junior Recruitment Coordinator, has the difficult task of discovering future NRL players.

“We basically look for NRL players, and it’s harder to find them than you might think,’’ Bird said.

“We find players, train them and educate them on the systems to try and get them to the NRL, but at the end of the day it’s all about having resilience, putting in the hard work, and a lot of it’s luck. That’s the truth of it.

“There’s plenty of talented players, but they need a really good support network, and really good resources around them, both on and off the field.

“It’s the 1% around them that will add up to the right mixture. It’s that 1% effort at school, 1% effort at home, eating the right food, looking after injuries. It’s a bit back on the players to be accountable for themselves.

“You can’t walk into a shop and build a football player. You have to build them from the ground up. They have to be good people first. They have to be coachable, want to listen and have a good support network at home, school, or a mentor.

“Ultimately there’s only one person that can make you an NRL, or NRLW, player, and that’s the coach that picks you on a Tuesday.”

McCormack has welcomed the opportunity for the Titans to enter new territory after mainly working with young talent in south-east Queensland and the New South Wales northern rivers areas.

“We’re here to support the school with coach education, and making links to the region,’’ McCormack said.

“At least 14 of the 17 clubs visit south-east Queensland regularly. This region still has a lot of untapped talent.

“If there’s a young player, boy or girl, that want a pathway to the NRL or NRLW then hopefully we can help facilitate that in some way.”

Jamie said they look for talent, first and foremost, but also look for good people, hard-working people, and coachable people.

“It’s a package deal. Some players don’t have the ability of others but have a far better work ethic and sometimes that shines through,’’ McCormack said.

The player recruitment game can be a challenge, with McCormack saying, “It’s an opinion at that given time.”

“You’re looking into a crystal ball at 14, 15, 16 years. There’s a lot of years ahead before they could possibly become NRL or NRLW players,’’ McCormack said.

McCormack said it also wasn’t the end of the world if a player is 16 or 17 years old and something hasn’t happened for them yet.

“It happens for different people at different times, for different reasons,’’ McCormack said.

“All players have to be thinking outside of rugby league. Rugby league is a dream and something you can pursue. It doesn’t happen for everyone. Everyone needs a career and needs to ensure they get the best out of schooling.”

ý coaches welcomed an insight into the Titans development and coaching structure during a presentation at Rugby Park.

McCormack provided an overview of the Titans values – We’re Selfless, We’re Trustworthy, We’re Accountable, We’re Relentless – and talked about the importance of getting input from the players when establishing values.

“It’s easy for adults to witness life and write up some values and then implement them on players,’’ McCormack said.

“You need the players to be a part of the strategy.

“At the Titans, our values are on the wall, and the players are expected to know them inside and out, and abide by them.”

The coaching session provided an overview of the Titans programme, coach engagement around attack and defence strategies, and future opportunities for ý coaches and staff within the Titans programme.

Pictured above - Lane Bird, ý Head of Rugby Clayton Bohan, and Jamie McCormack.