He’s guided Gold Coast to the NRL finals for the first time in six years and now Gold Coast coach Neil Henry is eyeing off an even longer drought in Friday’s elimination clash with Brisbane.
The Titans head to Suncorp Stadium without a win in their past nine trips up the Pacific Motorway, a winless streak stretching back to their inaugural campaign in 2007.
After beating the Broncos 28-16 the first time the teams met at the venue in April 2007, the Titans have failed to beat their so-called “big brother” ever since in Brisbane’s backyard.
Their overall record in south-east Queensland derbies isn’t much better, with just five wins from 20 clashes including a 40-32 defeat when the teams met in the 2009 finals series.
As far as Henry is concerned however, that record means nothing coming into a one-off knockout clash.
“Those records go out the door don’t they when you get into this sort of sudden-death game?” Henry said.
“This is a new ball game.
“They’re on the back of a few wins now, had a tremendous performance against Melbourne Storm and a gritty Roosters last game too but they did what they had to do to get a result. They’ve got a bit of momentum.
“We’ll have to arrest that, their early form on the field, and match fire with fire there.”
Having limped into the finals in eighth spot courtesy of Canberra’s big win over Wests Tigers on Sunday, Henry is urging his charges to seize the opportunity handed to them.
The Titans coach admits the weight of expectation may have played its part in his team’s defeats to Penrith and North Queensland with a finals spot theirs for the taking.
Granted a second chance by the Tigers’ failure, Henry says approaching the finals without fear will be crucial.
“You just need to get on a run don’t you and it starts on Friday night,” Henry said.
“You’ve just got to load up all your energy and just not worry about what-ifs, get out there and win a game of footy.”
TITANS’ BRISBANE MISERY – Gold Coast’s history against the Broncos
Overall record: Broncos 15, Titans 5
In Brisbane: Broncos 9, Titans 1
Most recent time: Broncos 24 bt Titans 16 at Robina, Round 5, 2016
* Brisbane have won their past four matches against Gold Coast
* Brisbane have won five and lost six in finals matches at Suncorp Stadium
* Gold Coast have played one final at Suncorp Stadium, losing 32-6 to Sydney Roosters in 2010