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DIEHARD
23-12-11, 06:54 AM
Defence focus for Titans under-20

IT is no secret that defence in the Toyota Cup is as soft as butter.

And that's why Jamie O'Connor wants to turn the Gold Coast Titans into the best defensive team in the National Youth Competition.

O'Connor has taken over the coaching reins of the Titans under-20 side for the 2012 season. He replaces Rod Patison, who had two years in the post.

The disparity in defence between the junior competition and NRL is huge, with the youngsters struggling to play 80-minute matches.

This year, NYC premiers New Zealand scored 851 points in the season proper while conceding 496. In comparison, NRL premiers Manly scored 539, conceding 331.

O'Connor, who coached the club's under-18 team for four years, knows that if he can turn the Titans into a defensive force, the results will come.

"We've concentrated on the physical contact and getting them really fit," he said. "We've done a lot of wrestling and one-on-one tackling. A few of the boys have spilt a bit of blood at training. At least I know they're having a crack.

"They come out of schoolboys' systems where they play 25-minute halves and you see the scores blow out a bit.

"It means they're either not fit enough or their defence isn't intact.

"We've concentrated on those areas more than anything else. Our fitness and defensive shape and structure is very important."

The squad of 40 has been going through tough pre-season sessions since November 4 in a bid to become fit. About seven players were axed from the squad last night and O'Connor said no corners would be cut in the pre-season following the side's disappointing 14th finish this year.

"It's been a rugged pre-season, especially for a lot of the guys that have come from the under-18s. It's been a tough ask because it's been gruelling," he said.

"It's something myself and Aaron Zimmerle (assistant coach) discussed. We thought we'd bring back a really hard off-season with a lot of contact and old-school long running.

"The boys have toughed it out pretty well. It's been a shock to the system for a lot of them but they've got through it quite well.

"We've been quite impressed with the effort of the guys."

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/

lonegull
23-12-11, 08:59 AM
didnt know pattison had been replaced, havent seen any news etc on this except for this article wouldnt of known know different

mdrew
24-12-11, 07:57 AM
Sorry Titans but the coverage of the U20's is embarassing. No details of the squad have been released. Very disappointing.