St Helens legend Mal Meninga looking forward to linking up with Justin Holbrook at the Titans

Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga

Justin Holbrook jetted home on Monday to face arguably the toughest job in club rugby league.

The Betfred Super League Grand Final winning coach will have a mountain to climb as he attempt to revive the fortunes of the Gold Coast Titans - the 2019 NRL wooden spoonists.

Holbrook, who helped Saints to lift the coveted crown against Salford Red Devils a couple of weeks ago and back-to-back League Leaders' Shield triumphs after a two and a half year spell at the Totally Wicked Stadium, takes over the coaching reins at the Queensland club next month.

And if he needs any advice on the task ahead he can turn to a rugby league icon and former St Helens legend, Mal Meninga.

International boss Meninga is also head of culture and performance at the Titans and will be looking forward to seeing how Holbrook operates in what will be his first role as a head coach at senior level Down Under.

Mighty Mal, who had one winter season at Knowsley Road and was a member of head coach Billy Beynon's 1984-85 Lancashire Cup winning side against Wigan and followed it up by defeating Hull KR in the Premiership Final, said: ''Justin is a great coach and we are all looking forward to his arrival, but it is not only up to Justin to make us great once more.

''Everyone at the club has a role to play - officials, players and fans - and we need to show the rest of the rugby league world what we are made of and then we'll be successful, I can guarantee that."

The one-time Kangaroo skipper says Holbrook has built his team culture at St Helens around the key value of trust – a philosophy the Titans share through their club’s RAPT values of being resilient, accountable, proud and trustworthy - and hopefully it will continue.

Executive chairman Dennis Watt said the club was delighted to secure Holbrook’s signature to lead the Gold Coast into a new era in the NRL.

He said:''I think everyone in rugby league would be aware of the tremendous success that Justin has enjoyed in Super League, rebuilding St Helens to the top of Super League and taking them to the Coral Challenge Cup Final.,

“Justin is very highly regarded, and it is a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of the Titans and the work that is already being done at the club that he has chosen the Gold Coast to begin his NRL career.

Holbrook, 43, said he was excited by the prospect of joining the Titans and returning the Gold Coast to the top of the NRL ladder.

“The ingredients for a truly great club already exist at the Titans, and I am looking forward to moving to the Gold Coast to play my part in turning that vision into a reality,” Holbrook said.

“The Titans are a very strong club backed by a strong rugby league community, with a fantastic junior nursery that feeds an exceptional development and pathway system.

“I can’t wait to begin working with the excellent people already within the organisation to help the club reach its true potential.

“I will of course be sad to leave St Helens, and will always be thankful for the opportunity and support that the club and its amazing fans gave to me. It will remain with me for the rest of my life.

''From the bottom of my hearts, thanks St Helens for what you did for me and my family. We will never forget yours kindness during our stay.'''