Gold Coast Titans skipper Ryan James has pleaded with club officials to stand by Neil Henry, taking aim at recent reports suggesting young halves Ash Taylor and Kane Elgey want the coach sacked.
In an emotional press conference following the Titans' 30-8 loss to Parramatta on Thursday night, Henry reiterated his desire to continue coaching the club amid strong suggestions he may have just coached his last game of NRL.
The feud between Henry and Jarryd Hayne, who missed Thursday's game through injury, has spilt over into the playing ranks with the majority understood to be standing by the embattled coach.
James fired up over reports suggesting Taylor and Elgey had given the club an ultimatum that they would walk if the coach wasn't sacked, admitting the duo were "rattled" by the back page in a Queensland newspaper.
"You can say allegedly from an unnamed source and you can say anything. It's BS," James said.
"I know the media came out and said it and I don't know how good their sources are because two young kids are rattled."
Henry addressed the topic with both players, in particular Elgey who was quite upset about the story.
"I tried to settle down Kane," Henry said.
"He was really upset when the back page came out. He was rattled wondering where that came from. He addressed that and Ash Taylor said the same thing.
"That's disruptive. It would be for any team and certainly for our players. They have to try to put that aside and get on with the business."
The Titans board will meet this week, where it is expected Henry will likely face the sack given a strong belief the working relationship between he and Hayne has passed its expiry date.
But Henry insists he is still the right man for the job.
"The players are saying there are no broader issue and they have been very supportive," Henry said.
"What the board does with the information is up to them. They have the governance at the club. They hire me. It will be up to them to make a decision and I'll abide by that decision. But I am not going to walk away from a job I think I should be doing and will continue to do. Hopefully, as I said before, it is not my last game with the club. I am contracted and I want to stay here."
Despite the speculation about his future, Henry continues to front to answer the tough questions. He admits it's taken a toll on his and his family's life but is desperate to soldier on through the hard times.
"You can try to deflect some of it but it is hard," Henry said.
"It is not just me, it is your family and people who know you. But we have a lot off support out there and I am a realist about things. You can't control a lot of stuff that is happening. I have to represent the club and get these boys playing the football they can play.
"It has been pretty relentless. That comes with it but it is not pleasant. I am determined to stay there until I hear otherwise. We're trying to build something on the coast. There is a plan and it is a young roster. There are some good performances in our seven wins that say the club has a future."
The story 'It's BS': Titans skipper fires up in defence of Neil Henry first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.