Craig Hodges says his coaching aspirations are irrelevant given the job on his hands at the Gold Coast after the NRL side sunk to a fourth-straight loss on Sunday.
The bottom-placed club sacked second-year coach Garth Brennan last Sunday, with assistant Hodges promoted to the top job just as he was when Neil Henry was marched in 2017.
The Titans led 12-0 against ladder-leading Melbourne but their flimsy edge defence was quickly exposed in a 38-18 loss to a Storm side missing its State of Origin backline stars.
With just four wins from their first 17 games, their fifth-straight loss at home also consigned the club to its equal-worst start to a season.
Hodges said it was natural to harbour ambitions of taking a full-time role in the NRL, but he isn't prepared to publicly put his hat in the ring while attempting to drag the squad out of the mud.
"I think everybody that coaches in our game would love to coach NRL," Hodges said.
"But the reality is, if you've watched any of our football this year and where we are, we've got far more important things that need to be addressed immediately than what I do or don't want to do with my career."
Ben and Shane Walker, Geoff Toovey and successful English Super League coach Justin Holbrook have been floated as options for the vacant post, while Queensland coach Kevin Walters has publicly withdrawn interest.
Former Brisbane and Penrith mentor Anthony Griffin admitted on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Gold Coast would be an attractive proposition for a coach, but that he had not be in touch with the club about filling the position.
Hodges could well be auditioning too, but regardless of his own situation he hopes his no-nonsense, simplified style will resonate with the group and bring longer-term improvement.
"We're 18 rounds into a competition ... we haven't got a 14-week preseason but these are changes that have to be made for us to go, not just in the next eight weeks, but to go where we want to go in the next 18 months," he said of his philosophy.
"We know what direction we want to go, know what we want to achieve, we just need to find the 17 most committed to do that. Then we'll work on the wider squad."
Australian Associated Press