Ryan James could be the victim of Justin Holbrook’s arrival. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Ryan James could be the victim of Justin Holbrook’s arrival. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Skipper could be casualty of Titanic shake-up

The Titans could be set for a captaincy shake-up after new Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook admitted he was undecided about whether Ryan James would retain the role.

Holbrook has spent the past two weeks settling into life on the Gold Coast after replacing Garth Brennan, who was sacked as the Titans collected the 2019 NRL wooden spoon.

Holbrook has overhauled the Titans' coaching staff and is putting his stamp on the club, which could include a new leadership model.

James, 28, was appointed co-captain of the Titans by ex-coach Neil Henry in 2017 alongside Kevin Proctor before taking over the role solely midway through that season after the Kiwi international was embroiled in a cocaine scandal.

James retained the duties under Brennan in 2018-19, however he was restricted to only six NRL appearances last season after undergoing a knee reconstruction.

Tyrone Roberts and Proctor filled in for James while he was injured as the Titans slumped to a shocking season, losing 20 games to claim the club's second wooden spoon.

A local product from the Tweed Heads region, James has made 144 NRL appearances for the Titans since debuting in 2010 and is the club's longest-serving current player.

 

Holbrook is expected to make big changes at the club. Picture: Adam Head
Holbrook is expected to make big changes at the club. Picture: Adam Head

 

While James has done little wrong, Holbrook is overhauling the Titans in a bid to turn around three years of poor performances and that could include a new captain.

"I'm not sure yet, I haven't given that much thought," Holbrook told The Courier-Mail when asked if James would retain the role.

"We're in no rush with that. We don't really need one until round one so I'm not going to rush that.

"He is coming off a long knee injury and has got to get himself right. He's still in the rehab process for a while to come.

 

Jai Arrow could come into captaincy contention in 2020. Picture: Jerad Williams
Jai Arrow could come into captaincy contention in 2020. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

"We'll worry about that next year."

If Holbrook opts for a new captain, Queensland Origin star Jai Arrow is a leading contender.

The 24-year-old is a proud Gold Coast product and has been sensational for the Titans over the past two years after leaving the Brisbane Broncos.

Arrow has a squeaky-clean image and is an on-field leader with his tremendous workrate and competitiveness.

The only issue for the Titans is Arrow is off-contract at the end of the 2020 season and is yet to commit to the club.

Holbrook said he could opt to introduce a leadership group if the players supported the idea.

"Leadership has been talked about here and it's become more important across all sport," he said.

"It's something I don't want to rush into. I don't want to put a leadership group in place for the sake of it.

"As coaches we're the leaders at the moment. Once we see fit, we will have player input, whether that's a leadership group or not. I'm a coach that includes players.

"I'm not putting a time frame on any of that stuff to get sorted."