In Jai Arrow and Ashley Taylor, the Titans have some good young talent to build around. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
In Jai Arrow and Ashley Taylor, the Titans have some good young talent to build around. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

The move that could turn around the Titans

OPINION

GOLD Coast co-owner Darryl Kelly lost $5 million during his first financial foray into the Titans.

Surely, the millionaire business tycoon can afford half that to poach Wayne Bennett from the Broncos and finally help the Titans step out of Big Brother's shadow to become an NRL powerhouse.

New Titans co-owners Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle boast business empires worth more than $100 million collectively. They have the cash to get Bennett.

Whether they have the gumption to have a crack is the million-dollar question.

It's baffling that at a time when the Broncos board is dithering over whether to re-sign Bennett beyond 2019, Gold Coast's bosses aren't formulating a plan to steal Brisbane's only premiership coach.

With the Broncos still undecided over Wayne Bennett’s future, now is the perfect time for the Titans to make a move. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
With the Broncos still undecided over Wayne Bennett’s future, now is the perfect time for the Titans to make a move. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

The Titans are the sleeping giant of the NRL. There are incessant opportunities being squandered in a region that is crying out for a winning football team.

The Titans' results for the best part of a decade, save for an eighth-placed finals appearance in 2016 when Parramatta was eliminated from the playoffs for salary cap rorts, have been unacceptable.

Their recruitment has been ill-conceived and fraught with risk. Their membership base is the lowest in the NRL. Their gates are largely poor. Their sponsorship stable is small fry. Their junior development strategies and pathway plans to turn promising Gold Coast kids into NRL stars have been consistently botched.

They say winning starts in the front office. No one knows a successful front office better than Bennett.

If the Titans want a visible snapshot of what they stand to acquire, they should walk into the flash foyer of Brisbane's new $27 million training facility at Red Hill.

There, greeting visitors, stand six premierships. All titles delivered by Bennett, evidence that the structures and methodologies he first put in place at the Broncos in 1988 have yielded success - and stood the test of time.

There are some fine people at the Titans but they need a mover and shaker to give the club gravitas, title-winning know-how and sheer pulling power.

That man is Bennett.

This is not a call to sack Garth Brennan. The new Titans coach has made advancements in his maiden year at the club and deserves time, even beyond his current deal, which expires next year, to bear the fruits of his hard work.

Whether Brennan can deliver the Titans' first title on his own is debatable, but with Bennett operating in a director of football capacity, the Coast would have a figurehead with the ability to pull the pieces of the premiership puzzle together.

Bennett has his critics but the facts are indisputable.

Since his return to the Broncos, Brisbane have enjoyed record sponsorship dollars. Bennett has clout with corporates.

At the negotiating table, Bennett has pull with players. His aura and vision have locked up the Broncos' best batch of juniors in 20 years, headlined by Payne Haas, David Fifita, Jaydn Su'A and Tevita Pangai Jr.

Meanwhile, the Titans lurch from one recruitment bungle to the next.

The signing of Bryce Cartwright to a four-year, multimillion-dollar deal has been a disaster.

When Moses Mbye quit the Bulldogs six weeks ago, he advised his manager to ring the Titans. Mbye was keen to return to Queensland.

His manager left a message with the Titans' recruitment team. They never rang back. Mbye signed with Wests Tigers instead.

For too long, the Titans have been operating in first gear. Bennett can fix the mess.

If Kelly and Frizelle want some return on their investment in the Titans, they should trust their business acumen and ring the NRL's greatest coach today.



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