Just who are the Gold Coast Titans?

Since their inception in 2007, the Gold Coast has been a struggling club both on and off the field. Here are the problems that lay within the Titans.

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Picture credit: Jason O’Brien

The Gold Coast is a beautiful and fun area to visit. It has tonnes of great tourist attractions while some of the beaches are truly magnificent. And as great as it is in so many ways, sports ain’t one of them. Rugby League has dipped its foot in here before with the Gold Coast Chargers, however, that was a massive failure as the club was only together for eleven years and it achieved absolutely nothing of note. Over in the AFL the Suns are quickly becoming the laughing stock of their sport, while the Gold Coast’s team in the A-League under Clive Palmer was pretty shocking as well.

Now as the NRL is finding out yet again, the Gold Coast just isn’t built for sports teams to feasibly do well and achieve success. It’s sad, but it’s the truth and history is repeating itself with the Titans trying to prove themselves something of a normal club. 

However, they are anything but. Here is exactly why the side coached by Garth Brennan and captained by Ryan James, should mean zilch to the league and why they should instead be replaced by a different side.

Laughable membership numbers

In 2015 the Titans had only 11,508 members in their ranks. Over the past four years that has been their highest tally. 

Fast forward to 2018 and they’re actually down just under 1000 members with only 10,667 signing up for their sides season just past. 

For a franchise that changes major sponsors more frequently than their opposition, memberships are a vital way for the club to secure money. 

Those numbers just listed do not help their cause at all. While the fact that clubs such as Cronulla and Manly have more members than them and are in far more isolated areas, speaks testament to what exactly is going wrong at the Titans.

Low, low crowds

If Johnathan Thurston didn’t play his last ever game up on the Gold Coast, they would have never have had a sell-out crowd in their eleven-year existence. 

For a lot of their most recent games (with the exception of that special event), a lot of their games only attracted only roughly 12,000 spectators. That’s not a bad effort, but it’s still very low within the NRL. While compared to QLD side Brisbane it fairs quite badly and to some extent North Queensland as well. 

In a sign of just how small their fanbase actually is, sometimes against the bigger sides like the Broncos they actually outnumber their own fans. Low crowds equate to low gate receipts, reflects badly on the club and it looks poor on TV as well.

Many failures in a short history

Quick question, would anyone of you reading this piece become members and consistently turn up to games if your side constantly produced like the Titans do? I’m guessing probably not a lot of you would which is more than fair enough. The club already has a Wooden Spoon to its name and has featured in the finals only three times. And in addition to the Wooden Spoon, four seasons they’ve been among the bottom four placed finishing teams. A pretty dreadful record given they have only been in existence for eleven campaigns. And this season they conceded 582 points (third worst in the League).

While there has been some lean, lean years for Gold Coast supporters to endure, making it harder to be a fan of the club is the fact that they are never far away from some off-field controversy. Most clubs unfortunately have it that’s the sad norm these days. However, for a young club such as the Gold Coast, it’s maybe happened a bit too much for them. Jarryd Hayne and Neil Henry’s public fighting with each other saw Henry eventually get the boot and player power get a victory. That was a very bad look for the club while many fans of the game thought it should have been the other way around, myself included. 

And while DCE’s extreme backflip on the club was not the franchises fault, it certainly didn’t help them. Plus two separate cocaine incidents involving Dave Taylor, Ashley Harrison and Greg Bird and then Kevin Proctor some seasons later, especially in the case of the first one, put a massive knife through the heart of the club. Both on and off the field it’s not exactly been made the easiest thing in the world to be a supporter of theirs. Included within this list is the clubs 2013-14 Salary Cap issues, although given how small the Titans breach was, the impact was minimal on the side itself and more just created a poorer public perception of the club than anything else.

Instability cruels the club

When it was revealed on the 12th of March 2012, that the club was $35million in debt, a lot of people thought the club would fall over and die because of it. And quite realistically, they should have. However, the team fought and fought for their existence in the Federal Court and won, because here they are today still battling away. And despite being revealed later that they were debt free, that type of poor spending and money mismanagement should have never occurred in the first place, little lone within a professional Australian sporting franchise. And it was only late last year that the NRL gave up control of the Titans to a consortium, among the people within it being Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle, two people well-known to the club from their previous involvements within it. If you take anything from this however, be it that the NRL had owned it from 2015 and saved the club from becoming extinct and another footnote in the failed and miserable history of Rugby League teams on the Gold Coast. If the NRL is required to do that much for the Titans just so it would survive, then surely it would make more sense for a new and more financially sensible and independent side to take their place?

A player roster lacking star power

When they came into the league they were set with superstar players such as Mat Rogers (11 games for the Kangaroos and 45 tests for the Wallabies) and Preston Campbell (43 tries and one Premiership with the Panthers). However, looking now at their playing roster, the players of most note are Ryan James, Kevin Proctor, Jarrod Wallace and Ashley Taylor. 

Besides those players, most of their roster is pretty average with the exception of a few slightly better than average players. They won’t be able to do anything much without a star man leading them around. Point in case, the sell-out crowd that came to the Gold Coast last round because it was JT’s last game. 

Hypothetically if they had secured Daly Cherry-Evans signature, numbers all round would have been boosted for the struggling club. While you only have to look at the impacted numbers crowd and membership wise for the short time Jarryd Hayne was with the club. Going after someone such as Cameron Munster would definitely be a decent option for the club, or maybe James Maloney to a lesser extent. If you have those types of players in your side, they’ll help you win games on the field as well as of it as far as numbers are concerned.

There you have it, why the Gold Coast Titans are a nothing club and a waste of space to the NRL. Their history alone shows us why a different club should take their space and try to be more competitive. While everything I’ve said and or listed just points against them and doesn’t work in their favour. The NRL needs to wake up and realise this. A massive apology to Titans fans everywhere but your club just does not function how it should and needs to get the boot.

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