Ti­tans set for golden fu­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PETER BADEL Last Week 6 NRL ROUND 20

WAYNE Ben­nett says coach­ing ri­val Neil Henry can re­vive the Ti­tans as a ti­tle force, as a top- se­cret NRL re­port re­vealed the club has a vi­able fu­ture on the Gold Coast.

On the eve of tonight’s Bron­cos- Ti­tans derby at Sun­corp Sta­dium, News Corp Aus­tralia ob­tained an NRL doc­u­ment drafted as part of a fea­si­bil­ity study into the Ti­tans’ chances of sur­vival in the Gold Coast mar­ket.

The dossier was pre­pared for the NRL’s head of club ser­vices Tony Craw­ford as the gov­ern­ing body pre­pared to take con­trol of the Ti­tans’ li­cence fol­low­ing the co­caine scan­dal in Fe­bru­ary.

For decades many have ques­tioned whether a sport­ing team can thrive on the hol­i­day strip af­ter the Giants, Seag­ulls and Charg­ers all folded since Gold Coast’s en­try to the big league in 1988.

But the spe­cially com­mis­sioned NRL re­port con­cluded the Ti­tans could es­tab­lish a long- term foot­print on the Gold Coast de­spite the sagas that have rocked the club.

The Ti­tans face Bris­bane tonight and are in dan­ger of crash­ing to their sec­ond wooden spoon in five years, but Bron­cos coach Ben­nett hit out at sug­ges­tions the Coast should be re­lo­cated.

“There’s no rea­son why the Ti­tans can’t suc­ceed on the Gold Coast,” Ben­nett said.

“What that club has been through is so bloody un­fair – I just hope peo­ple leave them alone and trust they will even­tu­ally get it right.

“I have a lot of faith in their CEO Graham An­nes­ley, he’s an ex­tremely ca­pa­ble ad­min­is­tra­tor and I have a lot of time for their coach­ing staff Neil Henry and Terry Mat­ter­son.

“Those guys are de­cent peo­ple. Neil Henry is a good coach who needs time to turn the Ti­tans around, but they have been handed a bloody poi­soned chal­ice in the short- term.”

The NRL’s re­port found the Gold Coast housed one of league’s most fer­tile nurs­eries.

Henry con­ceded the Ti­tans needed to lift their game to give fans faith in the brand.

“We’ve been on a con­strained bud­get for a few years but there are ar­eas we need to be bet­ter in,” he said. “We need to be com­pet­i­tive and play an at­trac­tive style of footy so when our fans come along, they will see re­silience and a team show­ing pride in the jumper they are wear­ing.”

Ben­nett added: “The NRL has con­trol of their li­cence now so they have all the re­sources in the world. The NRL won’t let them fail.”

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