Things aren’t too rosy on southeast Queensland’s holiday strip with the Titans facing the combined issues of poor on-field performance, reported in-house squabbles between players and the coaching staff, the loss of a long-term major sponsor and all while waiting on movement on the sale of the club to a private party and out of NRL hands.
If you’re a Titans fan, you could be forgiven for just about having had enough of the circus on the Gold Coast.
Did Henry even want Hayne?
Today head coach Neil Henry refused to rule out claims he did not want the club to sign marquee star Jarryd Hayne while the NRL confirmed they would not stand in the way of the club if they wished to sack the former Raiders and Cowboys mentor.
The news fuels rumours that Henry is on his last legs with the club and may struggle to see out the season despite being contracted to the end of 2018. With the NRL confirming they would not object, the decision makers at the club may see the reported $350,000 buyout to remove Henry as an investment in maintaining their playing roster and ensuring the club remains in a position to recruit moving forward.
Henry’s future had been the subject of some speculation, but following the Titan’s 54-0 humbling on home soil to local rivals Brisbane, it has intensified dramatically and it now seems a question of timing and pulling the trigger rather than a question of if the trigger is pulled.
Amid the contention of Henry’s future, the man himself refused to confirm whether he wanted to bring Hayne to the club following the representative star’s time with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
When the question was put to him directly, Henry was coy, saying: “To sign high-profile players is a collective decision and I will leave it at that.”
“It is not for me to comment on how we go about how we sign any player really; I will leave it at that.”
The evasion adds further fuel to the fire that has burned since Hayne became one of the highest profile recruits in the club’s short history. Hayne has had his ups and downs since linking with the Titans, but like any marquee star, he is a lightning rod for criticism when performances dip or the team goes through a prolonged period of struggle, as they are now.
The walking wounded
In fairness, the Titan’s 2017 season has been significantly impacted by injuries to key players but Henry’s inability to mesh offensive stars like Hayne in to a spine with rising star Ash Taylor. Kane Elgey, Tyrone Roberts and Nathan Peats have handicapped their chances of success.
The Titans are now bound to miss out on finals footy this season, and currently find themselves ahead of just the Knights and Tigers on the NRL ladder with four games left to salvage some credibility, which looks unlikely on the back of the performance against the Broncos last Saturday night.
Facing a tough trip to a Dragons team fighting for their place in the top eight this Saturday in Sydney, the Titans round out the season with a Round 24 trip to Parramatta to tackle the red-hot Eels, before hosting the Bulldogs and finishing up with another away game, this time against the high-flying Roosters, leaving little faith in a quick turnaround in form.
As an added concern, news has begun circulating that major sponsor Aquis is set to end their partnership with the club at the end of the season. Reports suggest the deal was set to run through to 2021, but Aquis have made the necessary moves to terminate the agreement well in advance leaving the Titans with another key off-season task amid a plethora of other concerns that need addressing.
Can the Titans turn things around in the short term? Let us know in the comments below.
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