Titans’ star declares losing days are over
Gold Coast veteran Kevin Proctor has outlined his desire to transform the Titans' losing culture as the Kiwi international emerged as the club's leading captaincy contender.
Proctor is in the frame to replace Ryan James as captain of the Titans this year after the incumbent skipper suffered a season-ending knee injury.
James will miss the entire 2020 season and faces a fight to play in the NRL again after suffering a third ACL rupture last Friday.
With Queensland Origin star Jai Arrow bound for South Sydney, Titans culture boss Mal Meninga has conceded the club is low on leadership options.
Proctor, 30, briefly co-captained the Titans in 2017, but was stripped of the duties following a cocaine scandal while away on Test duties.
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With 240 NRL appearances, Proctor is the Gold Coast's most experienced player and well-respected by his teammates.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook was noncommittal to James leading the club this year before his knee injury, and Proctor said he would be happy to take on the captaincy duties.
"It's always a massive honour to lead your boys around and be named captain of a club," he said.
"I haven't given it too much thought. I'm trying to go about doing my thing and leading by example at training.
"If that comes it comes, I'll be happy to take it."
Proctor, who is off-contract this year, is entering his fourth season at the Titans, having played 179 games for the highly-successful Melbourne Storm before joining the Gold Coast.
Proctor was one of the game's elite back-rowers while at the Storm, but he has struggled to reach those heights at a club devoid of success.
Holbrook will be Proctor's third head coach at the Titans, a stark contrast to the Storm, where Craig Bellamy has held the reins since 2003.
Proctor said the Titans had to find stability to become an NRL premiership threat and he was confident that would happen under Holbrook.
"It's been such a rollercoaster since I've been here, it's been so up and down," he said.
"We haven't really settled with a coach.
"I really liked Neil (Henry) but they got rid of him (in late 2017). We had interim coaches, then Garth (Brennan, 2018-19) for two years which wasn't really good.
"Now we've got Justin. He's been good, but we haven't really had that stability around the coaches and team. There's so many people in and out of the squad as well.
"(Melbourne) have got (Bellamy) at the top. You might see his assistant coaches changing here and there but they've still got that blueprint under Craig.
"It's so soldier-like down there. You go into a system which has worked for however long he's been there.
"We need to come up with a culture and system like that, so that when people come in they know what to do.
"If you don't fit into the system then you can't be here.
"If you're new to the club and you don't fit into their system, then it's not the coaches that go - it's the players. That's why they've been so successful."
Proctor is the first to admit he hasn't replicated his Storm form for the Titans.
But his 2019 season was arguably his best in Gold Coast colours despite the club collecting the wooden spoon, and he is determined to prove he is worthy of a new contract.
"I'm hoping I do get re-signed," he said.
"This is as good as I've felt going into a pre-season. It doesn't get any easier, but the mind is still there. As long as that's still there and I've still got the passion to play footy, I'll keep going.
"I've got to lead by example and make sure I'm turning up on time and training hard and doing all those things. If I see something I can't just walk past it.
"I tell the young boys if they see something me or one of the other senior players are doing, don't be afraid to say something. That's how we're going to get better and how we all buy into what Justin's got going.
"We're moving in the right direction. We're starting to form that blueprint.
"You can tell by the way the boys bring themselves into training. There's no nonsense.
"I know you're supposed to be like that when you're a professional athlete anyway, but it hadn't been happening the last couple of years. We'd turn a blind eye and let things go.
"This year it's non-negotiable. Everyone is pulling each other up on everything.
"It's good. That's what we need. It doesn't matter if you've played two or 200 games, everyone's the same. You have to buy in or piss off."
Newcastle recruit Beau Fernor joined the Titans for his first training session on Monday, however he is at least two months away from playing due to knee surgery.