No-one knows the pain and glory of finals football at Gold Coast better than Chris McQueen.
The former Queensland State of Origin back-rower is the only current Titans player with an NRL premiership ring at home.
A member of South Sydney’s victorious 2014 team, McQueen’s grand final glory came after the pain of back-to-back preliminary final exits the preceding two years.
As the Titans prepare to begin their first finals campaign since 2010 against south-east Queensland rivals Brisbane on Friday night, McQueen is urging his teammates to heed his finals lessons.
Coming into the finals as the eighth-placed team against a Broncos outfit that went all the way to last year’s grand final, McQueen admits the Titans are up against it at Suncorp Stadium.
But he wants his teammates to not allow the occasion to get the better of them and stick by the routines which have got them into the top eight in the first place.
“At Souths, we had back-to-back seasons where we were playing in major semi-finals, grand final qualifiers and we were leading games and we got knocked off,” McQueen said.
“We learnt the hard way that we just have to go out there and play footy and just let it take care of itself.
“We’ve some young guys and some boys in the team (for whom) this is going to be their first taste of finals footy. It’s just important to get in their head it is just a game of footy, not get overawed or go into their shell.”
One player who can be relied upon to lift for the finals is recruit Jarryd Hayne.
The code-hopping superstar had a quiet night against North Queensland last Saturday but is a proven big-game player, having guided Parramatta to the 2009 grand final while also playing a leading role in NSW’s 2014 drought-breaking Origin victory.
Only McQueen’s nine career finals matches betters Hayne’s tally of eight finals appearances at the Titans and the 29-year-old expects Hayne to fire against the Broncos.
“He’s done it all,” McQueen said.
“He’s played for Australia. He’s played Origin. He’s played in the NFL in front of a hundred thousand fans.
“He’s certainly played in some big games and I’m sure he’ll be ready to go on Friday.”