After the Cronulla Sharks Friday night loss to the Melbourne Storm, the Gold Coast Titans remain in the hunt for the final spot in the top eight, but Titans coach Justin Holbrook has urged his team to remain calm despite the chance of playing finals.
Having only played in one finals series since 2010, and after finishing ninth last season, Holbrook says they just must focus on what they control.
“We’ve just got to obviously win the game first and play well,” he said at his press conference on Saturday.
“To chase 12 points is not the easiest thing to be worrying about during a game but we can’t focus on that.
“At least were in with a chance which is great, so we just have to go out and play well and obviously win by 12 points and we’re in the finals.”
Despite having to win by 12 or more points to secure a spot in the finals, Holbrook has put an emphasis on his team’s defence as opposed to the offence.
“We have scored points quite comfortably throughout the year and whenever we have played well we have got our defence right so that will still be the focus for tomorrow,” he said.
“The Warriors have got a big pack and they’re going to roll down the field so we have to make sure we nullify that and then play well ourselves.
“It’s so simple and boring if that makes sense, but it’s so important that you just keep sticking to what you do and what you know and that will sort of take care of itself in the long run.”
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Holbrook will use last week game as a blueprint for the teams execution levels against the Warriors.
Although they lost by a point Holbrook believes they defended as well as they have all year.
“There wasn’t much in that, obviously it was a field goal, we miss ours they kick theirs so there’s not much more we need to do other than that I don’t think,” he said.
“They only scored two tries and it was a bit of Kalyn Ponga brilliance on two plays so I think if we can have the same sort of execution and intent as last week, I think we will be okay tomorrow.”
The stage is set for a good day at CBUS Super Stadium on Sunday as the Titans say thanks to their fans, celebrate the career of all-time leading try scorer Anthony Don and attempt to sew up a finals berth.
Holbrook says it is important to celebrate the fans who have done it tough over the last couple of seasons, hopefully with a win.
“It’s really important. We rely on them, and they have been great support for us this year and obviously even more incentive now that were playing for a spot in the finals,” he said.
“It would be terrific for them all to turn out and if a couple of them weren’t going to come hopefully now that they know were a chance they can turn up and we can put in a great performance, one for the club and ourselves, two for the members and three for Donny on a great career.
“It’s all set up for a good day we just have to get out there and get the job done.”
Whilst leaving it to the last game wasn’t the plan, Holbrook said he will be dissatisfied if his team narrowly misses finals action for the second year in a row.
“It’ll be disappointing for sure,” he said.
“I think that all 16 clubs set out at the start of the year to play finals footy and only eight can do it.
“I have said right from the start that we want to play finals footy this year and we have a great opportunity to do that now.
“If were good enough to sneak into eighth then that’s what we want.”