After rupturing his ACL a week out from the 2023 season opener – ruling him out of the entire season – Beau Fermor would have plenty of advice on patience for his teammate Jayden Campbell, who is racing the clock to be fit in time for Round 1 next year.
Campbell suffered a dislocated patella in Round 25 and has since undergone a successful surgery, but still needs to get the go-ahead from his surgeon next month before he can begin running again.
Both players however were happy to be starting pre-season training again, with the pair hoping to press their claims to new coach Des Hasler to start in their preferred positions this season.
Fermor, who has been through months of recovery, said he would “be sweet for Round 1”, was enjoying the form of his career before his injury and had goals of pressing for a place in Queensland’s Origin squad, but will again need to prove himself in order to claim a starting position amidst the Titans' talented forwards.
While he still needs to work his way into the full rigours of training, Fermor said he was looking forward to seeing what an infamous Hasler pre-season would be like and had full expectations of “being flogged”.
“Obviously, I can't go from zero to 100 straight into pre-season, I've got a few weeks to build up to the full ‘in’ with the team, but a couple of weeks before Christmas, I'll be in there with them, just like one of the boys,” Fermor said.
“New coach means new ways of thinking, new ways of training, so it's a bit of an unknown going into the pre-season. I think it's got everyone a bit on edge and wondering what's going to happen so it's exciting.
“I think that's what we need as a team; we've got the squad here that can go deep into the finals and really challenge for a premiership and I think (pre-season is) the time that we need to be pushed (to) make sure that we're winning more games than we're losing.”
Entering into his fourth season in the NRL, Campbell was one of the more senior players to return to Titans training early, and after performing well in 2023 a utility in the halves and at dummy half, had no hesitation in sharing his desire to play fullback for the club in 2024.
“We’ve got a new coach, so I have just got to come to training and do my best and try to prove to the coach that I'd love to play fullback,” Campbell said.
“I feel like that's my best position, I feel like that's where I play my best, so I'd love to try and knock that spot down.
“Growing up, fullback was my main position, so I think just over time, I learnt a lot more and I have gotten used to it.
“Competing with your teammates and your mates, it just makes you a better footy player... (and playing as a utility) has benefited me. When you play different positions, you understand what that position needs from other positions, so I wouldn't really say it stumped me, I've learnt a lot from it.
“For me, I've always said, wherever the team needs me, I'll play.
“I'd like to play fullback, but wherever the team needs me, I'll play there.
"I'd love to bring a premiership to a Gold Coast, so wherever they need me to play to happen, I'll do it.”
With Campbell and Fermor just two pieces of a complicated on-field puzzle for the Titans, coupled with questions about the best overall spine and how to juggle their ample forward options, Hasler has plenty of thinking ahead of him.
“I've got a good two or three months to look over the squad and one thing particularly about the squad is there's certainly a lot of hybrid about the club and by that, I mean they can play a number of positions here, very versatile,” he said.