Gold Coast product Ryan James will captain the Titans for the first time in Sunday’s NRL clash with Canterbury, and his timing is impeccable.
With the dust settled on Daly Cherry-Evans’ now-infamous backflip a fortnight ago, the NRL battlers are once again on the search for a face to build their future around.
Turns out they might not have to look too far.
James, who will lead Gold Coast out onto Cbus Super Stadium in the State of Origin-enforced absence of Nate Myles, has already been anointed a long-term captain by club legend Scott Prince.
The significance of a local boy captaining the Titans so soon after their DCE-related embarrassment is not lost on 23-year-old James, originally from Tweed Heads, south of the Queensland border.
“The Gold Coast is building at the moment and since the NRL’s taken over (as club owners), our footy club’s gone up,” he said.
“I’m Gold Coast through-and-through, I’m very honoured and humbled to lead this team out on the weekend.
“I’m just happy we’re keeping local players local.”
James has emerged as one of the cornerstones of the Titans after overcoming a wretched run with injury in his early years at the club.
His efforts on Sunday will be critical as Gold Coast recovers from the loss of another local product, Kane Elgey, to an ankle injury for up to a month.
If he passes a pre-match concussion test, Aidan Sezer will be partnerned by the out-of-form Daniel Mortimer in the halves, and the pair will need all the space that the Titans pack can eke out for them if they are to register a win.
“Whatever we can do to make their job easier is going to be good for us going forward,” James said.
“They’ve got a big pack and we’ll do the best we can to hold them back.
“If we can go out there and get the win on the weekend it will make the day even more special.”