What Gold Coast Titans need to stay alive in the NRL

Gold Coast is once again on the hunt for a new coach, but as Robert Craddock reveals they need more than just a clipboard holder to keep pace with the rest of the competition.

It’s time for the Gold Coast Titans to stop being the amiable beach boys of the NRL and get some overdue hunger and a harder edge.

We’re talking recruiting, coaching, playing … everything.

The Titans need an injection of mongrel if they are going to stay alive in the jungle of the NRL.

It won’t be easy — history tells us it is improbable but not impossible.

If a team can dominate the competition from Melbourne why on earth can’t one from the Gold Coast at least be competitive?

A decade ago the Titans finished third and the year after fourth with a team or workers who had high disciplinary standards and a great collective commitment to the cause.

The demise of Garth Brennan as coach just adds weight to the argument that sporting teams on the Gold Coast just don’t work, given that this club’s struggles are mirrored by the previous incarnations of the club … the Giants, Seagulls, Gladiators and Chargers.

As one of their owners said recently the club is too nice for its own good. Sometimes they play as if they have just changed out of their boardies and thongs.

Fine fellow that he is, Brennan was not the man for the job.

The softer the club, the more you need a hard man at the helm.

Part of Brennan’s portfolio neatly fitted this job description. As a former no-nonsense policeman of 18 years standing whose experiences included confronting a man with a knife after a domestic dispute, there was no doubting his moral courage.

But he lacked the big-time football cred to win the respect needed to crack the whip and absorb the blowback.

Never having been an NRL head coach before, he was searching for his own identity at a time when his team was searching for a strong leader.

From the moment halfback and million dollar man Ash Taylor took mid-season leave with mental issues, Brennan’s career was on life support, not so much because it was his fault but because he could not solve the problem.

Earlier this season Brennan won public plaudits for being brave enough to give his side a decent spray after a bad loss. But the risk outweighed the reward.

Craig Bellamy can get away with these tactics because of his status but even Wayne Bennett has to pick his moments, claiming recently “the biggest change in my 30 years in the game is that you cannot give players a big bake anymore, otherwise they or their manager or mother will speak to your chief executive …’’

Brennan was axed mainly because the players were off him but, despite his shortfalls, there also would be an element of excuse-making in that, just as there was when the previous coach Neil Henry was axed after a player revolt.

Significantly, the club’s best player, Jai Arrow, had no problems with Brennan and thanked him for bringing out the best in his game.

Many others were happy to take the easy way out proving why the club needs stronger players as much as a new coach.

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