Ladder position: 15th
Points for: 448
Points against: 638
Top Try Scorer: Anthony Don (12 tries)
Home record: 4 wins, 8 losses
Away record: 3 wins, 9 losses
Highlight of the season
Round 10 – Titans 38 def. Storm 36
If there’s one thing each NRL side longs to do, its beating the Melbourne Storm. Classed technically as a Storm “home” game, the round 10 double-header at Suncorp Stadium brought about one of the greatest Titans wins in recent memory. Melbourne’s “big three” brought their A-game with tries from Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk seemingly getting the Storm on their way to victory in the first half. But the Titans managed to keep the game tight and a late flurry saw them snatch victory. Behind by eight with five minutes on the clock, a quick try from Tyrone Roberts kept the game alive and Konrad Hurrell placed down in the dying moments to snatch a memorable victory.
Lowlight of the season
Up until round 20, against all odds, the Titans still had a chance of making the top eight. However, on the back of six straight losses to finish the year, including their heaviest defeat ever, and a coach sacking, they found themselves just about missing out on the wooden spoon. This was hugely disappointing after a positive 2016.
But it was the off-field issues that were the most painful aspect of the year for many Titans fans. Coach Neil Henry was sacked amidst the poor results and a very public feud with big-name signing Jarryd Hayne. Whether wrong or right, it was the move that accentuated the Titans’ woes in 2017 which a new coach not announced yet.
What went right
Not a lot. The poor Titans have often found themselves the subject of Murphy’s Law in 2017. From star hooker Nathan Peats injuring his shoulder in pre-season, to an injury toll which plagued 11 of the top 25 players on the Gold Coast’s playing roster, to the coach sacking.
If a positive was to be found from the Titans lacklustre season, it would come in the form of individuals. Both Jarrod Wallace and Roberts have both achieved career best form in 2017, with the former earning a State of Origin call-up for games 2 and 3. Roberts is yet to be re-signed for 2018 but if he does extend his stay then Titans fans will at least have something to smile about.
Cult hero and fan favourite Anthony Don holds the title of the Titans top try scorer for the season with 12. Described as a “professional try scorer,” he moved up to third on the Titans all-time try scoring list, surpassing Will Zillman.
What went wrong
As mentioned above, very little went the way it was supposed to for the Titans in 2017. They had one of the worst injury records of recent history. The team has also had to starve off media speculation around million-dollar fullback Hayne. Questions around Hayne’s training habits, contract scenario, and troubled relationship with former coach Henry were asked throughout 2017.
The for and against totals pretty much tell the tale of the Titans season. They had the fifth worst attack in the competition and the second worst defence, a combination which ensured they would always struggle. As the season wore on and injuries robbed the Titans of any playmaking combinations, their previously promising attack faded away. Towards the end of the season, the spirited defence and effort that had become a trademark of the Coast in 2016 had well and truly abandoned them. They fell to several heavy losses to finish the year with the 54-0 home defeat at the hands of the Broncos being truly embarrassing.
Cbus Super Stadium was hardly a fortress for the Gold Coast this season, with the Titans losing more than half of their home games in 2017. Four wins from 12 games isn’t the worst home record in the NRL but it’s far from the best. The Titans struggles’ weren’t restricted to home for season 2017, with a poor away record as well.
Stand out player
Wallace has been the Gold Coast’s standout this year. Plating 21 games in the front-row and averaging 60 minutes per game, Wallace has been a rock for the Titans all year and managed an Origin call-up despite playing in a struggling side. It was noticeable when the Titans took to the field without their middle-man, who unfortunately ended the season with a three game suspension.
The injury crisis forced the Titans to blood far more rookies than they would have planned this year. Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Max King and Phillip Sami all showed promise in the matches they played. However, it was a local boy who impressed the most. Morgan Boyle went on the make 15 appearances for the Titans in 2017 and average 100 metres per game despite having limited minutes. Boyle impressed the Titans officials so much that he was re-signed to the club for a further three seasons, despite high interest from rival NRL clubs.
Recruitment for 2018
Players in: Jai Arrow (Brisbane Broncos, 2020), Brenton Lawrence (Manly Sea-Eagles, 2019), Keegan Hipgrave (Brisbane Broncos, 2018).
Players out: Tyler Cornish (released), Chris Grevsmuhl (released), Chris McQueen (West Tigers), Leivaha Pulu (New Zealand Warriors)
The Titans have bagged themselves a couple of handy forwards in Brenton Lawrence and Jai Arrow. Keegan Hipgrave has also been touted as a player of the future, with all three having the potential to be mainstays in the side.
Losses wise, Titans fans have little to complain about. Tyler Cornish and Chris Grevsmuhl played minimal games for the club, and despite showing some promise, Leivaha Pulu has struggled for form in the latter half of the season. Chris McQueen takes valuable experience away from him but that should be compensated by the capture of Lawrence.
The only way appears to be up from the Titans. On the back of a finals appearances in 2016, and the expectation that comes with that, the Titans will enjoy being underdogs again in 2018. Should they sign a quality coach that’s able to get the most out of an under-performing but talented roster, the Titans might be a chance of having an improved season in 2018.
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