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James to lead with or without captaincy

Whether he's captain or not, Titans forward Ryan James has vowed to bring the same leadership qualities.

James has led the Gold Coast since 2017 but new coach Justin Holbrook is yet to appoint a skipper for next year.

Holbrook told News Corp last month he was "not sure" if James would keep the job, saying the forward's main goal was to get back from the ACL injury that ended his 2019 season after six rounds.

Star lock Jai Arrow has been touted as a potential replacement. No matter the decision, James intends to set an example.

"I'll still do everything the same. It probably comes with a bit of experience and age as well," James told NRL.com.

"There are many types of leaders in the game, you have your outspoken ones ... I try just to do it by leading with actions.

"We've got all different types of leaders in our team and they start from 19 years old. It's pretty good that we've got a couple of those young kids putting their hands up.

"We've got a lot of middle-aged guys that are putting their hands up to be leaders and everyone's working hard to really push for a spot."

Talisha Harden, Ryan James, Jordan Kahu and Zahara Temara at the launch of the 2020 All Stars.
Talisha Harden, Ryan James, Jordan Kahu and Zahara Temara at the launch of the 2020 All Stars. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

James said he "hasn't really" talked about the captaincy with Holbrook but the matter could be raised on a camp at Coffs Harbour this week.

The 28-year-old, who is almost back to full training, would prefer to play front-row in 2020 instead of an edge role.

And he wants to provide more "impact" rather than punching out huge minutes each week as he's done in recent seasons.

"I see myself as a middle forward who can back up in the second row if need be," James said. "In the end, Justin will make that decision.

"Hopefully I don't have to play as long this year with a bit of a different rotation. I don't know too much about what’s happening, but I feel as though I naturally have a pretty good motor anyway, so if it was to be and I had to, I would."

Everything has been stripped back to basics at Titans training, with Holbrook making the wooden spooners focus on catching and passing.

And it's been so far, so good under the Super League title winner's command.

"I feel as though the morale around the club is totally different," James said.

"Hopefully we can go out there and have a pretty solid year, the Gold Coast really needs it.

"It's up to the players now. You can't blame anyone else, it's up to us to pull our fingers out and have a go."

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The big topic on the Gold Coast is the future of Queensland Origin prop Arrow, who is off-contract for 2021 and has received interest from the Rabbitohs and other Sydney clubs.

The Titans can see the lighter side of the constant innuendo about where their main man might be heading. 

"It's good, we just give Jai shit every time it comes up in the media," James laughed.

"It's just funny to always joke to him about it and see his reaction. But when it comes training that's always chucked out the door.

"Hopefully [he stays] on the Gold Coast because we don't want to lose a player of that calibre."