Justin Holbrook breaks silence on shock axing as Mal Meninga prepares to quit Titans


A ‘p***ed off’ Justin Holbrook has broken his silence after being shockingly sacked by the Titans, as Mal Meninga looks set to quit the club over the way the situation was handled.

The Titans showed Holbrook the door on Thursday afternoon, with Des Hasler taking over as his replacement from next season.

Speaking for the first time about the bombshell knifing, a disappointed Holbrook expressed his complete shock at the dismissal.

‘I just can’t believe it, I feel awful. Totally gutted,’ Holbrook told News Corp.

‘I did not see this coming at all, that’s what I am pissed off about.

Justin Holbrook (pictured) has broken his silence after being sacked by the Gold Coast Titans

Justin Holbrook (pictured) has broken his silence after being sacked by the Gold Coast Titans

Holbrook said he didn't see the move coming, and is 'p***ed off' because the side is doing well

Holbrook said he didn’t see the move coming, and is ‘p***ed off’ because the side is doing well

‘I could understand if they said, ‘Look you have three games or whatever time period to do something’, but to be moved on like this, I’m still coming to terms with it.

‘If they were a bit more open about the way things were heading, I would have been able to digest this, but it’s hit me out of the blue.’

An interim coach for the next 11 rounds is yet to be named, with Hasler in charge for 2024 and beyond.

He brings significant experience to the Glitter Strip, having coached 458 NRL games, reaching five grand finals and winning premierships in 2008 and 2011 at the Sea Eagles.

Holbrook, who was signed by the Titans in 2020, says he was completely blindsided by the club’s decision. 

‘I had no inkling at all,’ he said.

‘Steve [club CEO Steve Mitchell] just called me in this morning and said, ‘Have you got a minute’.

‘I went in for a meeting and he said, ‘We are going to terminate you as of right now’.

Des Hasler (pictured) will be taking over as Holbrook's replacement from next season

Des Hasler (pictured) will be taking over as Holbrook’s replacement from next season

Holbrook says he is 'totally gutted' by the club's bombshell decision on Thursday

Holbrook says he is ‘totally gutted’ by the club’s bombshell decision on Thursday

‘I said, ‘Shivers, on what … performance?’ I said, ‘Mate, I thought you would have given me a chance of getting the guys to the finals with our best players back’.

‘Anyway, it was a waste of time talking. It wasn’t a negotiation. They had made up their mind.’

The Titans currently sit in ninth spot on the NRL ladder, with six wins from 13 games.

‘We’re hardly off the pace. We’re right in the mix to play finals,’ Holbrook said.

‘I haven’t had my best players on deck this year and we’re still in the mix for the finals.

‘That’s what pisses me off. It’s not like we are dead and buried. If we don’t blow that game against the Dolphins (when they blew a 26-0 lead in round 8), we’re right up pushing for second spot.’

Meanwhile, Mal Meninga – who has been an advisor at the club for several years – says he was only informed about the decision after it had happened. 

‘I didn’t know until today which disappoints me a little bit,’ Meninga told SEN radio.

‘The club rang me this morning and I don’t know how to feel about it to be honest.

‘It’s a huge decision in the middle of the year and we are on the precipice of the finals.

Mal Meninga, who is a senior Titans advisor, has threatened to walk away from the club

Mal Meninga, who is a senior Titans advisor, has threatened to walk away from the club

Meninga says he doesn't envisage being a part of the Gold Coast club moving forward

Meninga says he doesn’t envisage being a part of the Gold Coast club moving forward

‘They made a decision based on the measurements they employed over the off-season around their defence. (The board) felt we needed to look at the bigger picture.

‘Justin is a great person so I’m obviously feeling a little disappointed for him. I hope it doesn’t damage Justin’s reputation.’

When quizzed about the potential signing of halfback Ben Hunt, Meninga stated that he hasn’t spoken to anyone about it.

‘I have no idea, I feel ostracised a little bit,’ Meninga said.

‘I’ve got a bit of thinking to do about what I do in the future… I don’t envisage being part of the club moving forward.’

Dating back to 2020, Holbrook’s winning record was 37.8 per cent, with 31 victories and 51 losses from 82 games.

This weekend the Titans – who have bold plans to win two NRL premierships by 2030 – face the in-form Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Holbrook is the second NRL coach relieved of his duties this season, after the Dragons parted ways with Anthony Griffin last month.



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