GARTH Brennan was holding a trump card the entire time.
He just needed a chance to play it. So when the Gold Coast called him to interview for the coaching job, the mentor showed his hand and it was a strong one.
So what was the ace he held? His secret relationship with Ash Taylor.
While coaching in the lower grades at Penrith, Brennan has been acting as a mentor to several NRL players, including Warrington-bound halfback Tyrone Roberts and the four Mata'utia brothers.
It was through these men he was introduced to Taylor.
"A lot of players that I've coached (are) at different clubs - the Mata'utia boys at Newcastle; Will Smith from Newcastle, who went to Penrith and is now the fullback at Parramatta; Tyrone Roberts, who was at Newcastle and up here (at the Titans), are all players that I've coached," Brennan explained of how he came to build a relationship with Taylor.
"It was just word of mouth. He (Taylor) actually asked those players if they could put me in contact with Ash.
"It was just a mentoring role I've had over the last 18months.
"It's exciting. I think he's a real talent. I think he's part of what's going to help us go forward and build a club around Ash. I'm fairly confident he's not far away from committing."
The Titans have tabled Taylor a three-year deal worth $3.2 million.
One of his first acts after accepting the role as coach was speaking to the half.
With the No.7 off-contract next season, his most pressing task is to get Taylor to commit to the club.
Brennan said he was "confident a deal at the Gold Coast Titans will be imminent", which will allow him to focus on continuing to develop Taylor's game.
It's a role he's already been playing for the little half.
"Things like game management," he said.
"When you're playing against different teams, you sort of have to adjust your game a little bit depending on defensive structures.
A police officer for 18years, Brennan believes it's his man-management skills that will see him succeed as coach.
Brennan said he genuinely cared about his players and was confident his troops would discover that quickly as "football players can smell a fraud very quickly".
While his predecessor Neil Henry was unable to deal with the Titans' marquee man Jarryd Hayne, Brennan is confident he and the No.1 will form a bond.
"We all know Jarryd's an exceptional talent. He's not the only exceptional talent at the Titans," he said.
"They have a really good roster that I'm excited about.
"The first thing is to get to know individual players and Jarryd's one of them. There's 29 other players I want to get to know outside of football. Once I do that, the key for me, the players will pick up very quickly that I care about my players."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.