HOPE is in the air surrounding the Gold Coast’s 2019 NRL prospects and fans are not the only ones brimming with more excitement than usual.

“I’m counting down the days,” Titans coach Garth Brennan beamed.

“Pre-season drags on for coaches as well as it does for players.

“I can’t wait until we start playing but in saying that, come Round 1 against the Raiders I am going to have a headache on my hands picking a team … and I think that’s why people are excited.

“They look at the squad on paper and think how are they going to fit all of that in? There is going to be some quality left out Round 1.

“It’s a long season and you need that depth if you want to be successful.”

Brennan came into a tricky situation when he was appointed in October 2017 to succeed Neil Henry.

Morale was low after the public feud between Henry and Jarryd Hayne, and when the latter quit the club soon after, the Titans were left with a million-dollar hole in their roster.

Fast forward 12 months and the good news has barely stopped. Mal Meninga is on staff, Steve Mitchell has joined as chief executive, a leagues club is in the works and a major development program has launched.

For nine fresh faces on the playing side of things, the next two weeks will be pivotal to their chances of being around the growing positivity at Parkwood for a bit longer given train-and-trial contracts expire at the Christmas break.

Troy Leo, Dylan Phythian, Christian Hazard, John Palavi and Jacob Hind are the older contingent for whom one of the last two top 30 roster spots is not out of the question.

Kai O’Donnell, Ben Thomas, Treymain Spry and Ioane Seiuli are also trialling for development deals, with the latter particularly impressing.

Three players – Jaxson Paulo, Darius Farmer and Kea Pere – already hold development contracts, with a maximum of six able to be handed out on top of top 30 deals.

“I’m really happy with all of the train and triallists,” Brennan said.

“Sometimes it can be a bit dangerous bringing guys into your squad (if) they struggle and can’t keep up and bring the standard of the session down.

“But I would have to say they’re certainly adding to the sessions more so than bringing it down. They are all having a red hot crack.”