Jets mentors on shortlist for Titans NRL job
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ipswich Intrust Super Cup duo Ben and Shane Walker will be formally interviewed to replace Garth Brennan and have declared they can rescue the Titans by thriving in the toughest job in the NRL.
News Corp can recall the Walker brothers will be shortlisted for the Titans job as Gold Coast culture-and-performance chief Mal Meninga prepares to begin interviews with potential successors to the sacked Brennan.
The Titans want a new coach in place within a month, with Meninga to spearhead an interview panel comprising executive chairman Dennis Watt and co-owner Darryl Kelly.
As revealed last week, St Helens coach Justin Holbrook has outlined his interest in the Titans post, while the likes of Anthony Griffin, Geoff Toovey, Trent Barrett and Queensland's Kevin Walters have been linked to the Gold Coast position.
But the Walkers have emerged as a legitimate contender.
It is the second time in two years the Walkers have been in the running for the Titans post after they were shortlisted in 2017 following the sacking of Brennan's predecessor Neil Henry.
Meninga, appointed as the Titans' culture boss last November, is known to be a fan of the former Broncos duo, who delivered Ipswich's first Intrust Super Cup premiership in 2015 - breaking the Jets' 33-year title hoodoo.
In May, Meninga met with the Walkers to discuss their coaching philosophies, as well as expressing the Titans' interest in Ben's son Sam, who ultimately rejected a number of offers to sign with the Roosters.
The Titans head into Saturday's derby against the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium running dead last, but Shane Walker insists the Jets co-coaches would not be daunted by the prospect of rebuilding the Gold Coast.
"We believe we would align well with the Titans," the Walkers said. "At the moment, the Titans are a bit maligned as a club but that's fine because we have been in that very situation before at Ipswich.
"We know how to lead an organisation out of the tough times.
"We took over the Ipswich Jets in 2011 as a wooden-spoon team.
"We told our CEO at the time don't get rid of a single player and don't sign anyone else, just keep the squad that is there and we can get results with them.
"We made the playoffs the following year (2012) and three years later, we won a premiership.
"The Titans are in a similar boat to the Jets. They have got a squad of guys who are running last, but they have the talent and so this is familiar territory to us.
"We can turn them around."