Old School Footy Discussion

Alec

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Mar 4, 2008
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I think Presto and Bailey were the first signings though weren't they??

Thought Presto was sort of 'presented as a titan' during the GF before their first year wasn't he??

Thought Prince was getting to the back end of his 20's by the time he started with the Titans (and nearing 30 was considered to be getting on in NRL back then)... he was probably the marquee that they were looking for, but I don't really recall him being a constant origin player for qld at that point (Lockyer and JT, with Cronk already starting to hit his straps).

Rogers had come back from union and was looking old.. think Bailey was the big origin level player that they had early on. Presto was obviously an excellent player but couldn't crack the NSW teams.
Prince turned 27 in their first year. He had at least 3 or 4 great years there, and still ended up being picked for Australia and QLD when Lockyer was injured. He definitely couldn't jump ahead of Lockyer and Thurston, but I thought he was clearly the next best half in the game for those first 3 or so years.

Preston was around 30 or so I think, but he turned back the clock being picked at fullback. His size was the only thing really letting him down, when it those years every back needed to be 90+ KG to be considered effective.
 

theshed

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Aug 28, 2010
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Do we know how the signings worked?were they all off contract players? We’re they sighed more than 1 season in advance? Were they given exemption or the ability to break contracts early to join ?
 

Big Pete

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Mar 12, 2008
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On the Gold Coast Titans, once Souths were re-admitted the NRL were always looking to expand to an even numbers just to avoid giving teams the weekly bye. The NRL was also facing an issue with talent retention as more and more players were turning to Rugby and the ESL so opening up more spots was a way to fix that.

The Gold Coast put together a great proposal centered on junior development with the club being spear-headed by this savvy young businessman and former player Michael Searle and the Roosters assistant coach tipped to be the next big Rugby League mind, John Cartwright.

They were admitted in early to mid 2005 and they set the blueprint on how to build a successful club by signing one of the best halves in the game in Scott Prince and one of the best front row forwards in Luke Bailey. They made some really astute signings around that time bringing in Preston Campbell, Anthony Laffranchi, Brian Carney to help flesh the squad out. One of the big coups was Mat Rogers who was just beginning to get long in the tooth in Rugby and needed a fresh start. On a personal note, Rogers was a big coup for me as his Origin debut was one of the first matches I saw and he instantly became one of my favourites.

Then they started signing strong fringe first graders like Nathan Friend, Gavin Cooper, Brett Delaney, Luke O'Dwyer, Michael Henderson, Clint Amos etc.

It was a strong side that was going to ensure they'd finish above the wooden spoon but the litmus test was their ability to develop quality Rugby League players. They had a strong group of exciting up and comers with their three biggest prospects being Shannon Walker, Chris Sandow and Bodene Thompson. Later on they would go onto snare the signing of one of the most exciting youngsters coming through the Queensland schools system in Jordan Rapana but that was the initial three players and none of them really panned out for the Gold Coast.

The first loss was Sandow who simply had a better opportunity at South Sydney. Souths halfback was Jeremy Smith, a NSW halfback who is most famous for being Sean Hampstead over in what was set to be one of the lowest scoring games in Rugby League history until that incident. After that, things got pretty bare with Eddie Paea not quite working out. Souths had an affiliation with Easts Tigers which is how they got Dave Tyrell and they were on the hunt for quality Queensland talent. So they picked up Luke Capewell who was one of the biggest talents of his age group and Sandow.

Walker was the litmus test and it's difficult to know where it all went wrong exactly. Walker was sensational for Tweed Heads in their successful 2007 campaign and appeared to be the next big fullback to come through and the obvious successor to Campbell. However he never improved on that season and really faded into obscurity.

So those players didn't work out and they really under-performed at that 20s level. The NYC could be another conversation entirely in terms of pros and cons, but the Gold Coast were promoting themselves as a development club and the best they could manage was an 8th placed finish in 10 years in the competition. It wasn't like they didn't try either they went ahead and signed some pretty big names in juniors like centre Dominic Walsh (Souths), second row Ryan James (Melbourne), Kingi Akoula (Wests) and Ronnie Avolli (Penrith) around that time and a lot of those players were just lost to the game.

Still their recruitment was strong and that was good enough to build them into a quality team by their third season. On paper the Titans had invested wisely and well on their way of establishing a strong foot-print in Rugby League until issues started to come to light about their finances. In an effort to try and stay ahead of the competition, the Gold Coast had spent so much money they were facing bankrupcy and in the end had to sell some of their assests just to remain in the competition. This all came to a head in 2012 but the signs had been apparant since 2010 they were beginning to cut corners with their juniors which sent the club spiralling.

From there you have Cartwright stretching the succession plan out longer and failing to get the club on track. You have the Neil Henry era where he was essentially a placeholder before they took a gamble on another up and coming coach which backfired spectacularly in Garth Brennan. Brennan had some good ideas initially but his decision to bring all these expendable players from Penrith with him hurt.

I feel like the legacy of the Titans is a team that pulled the wool over everybody's eyes. They had a good five year plan but the execution was horrendous and they're extremely lucky to still be around. I do think they're starting to turn things around and the focus on junior development is the right option for them. However they really need Jayden Campbell and the like to step up unlike the previous generation.
 

BroncsFan

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Jul 28, 2016
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Prince turned 27 in their first year. He had at least 3 or 4 great years there, and still ended up being picked for Australia and QLD when Lockyer was injured. He definitely couldn't jump ahead of Lockyer and Thurston, but I thought he was clearly the next best half in the game for those first 3 or so years.

Preston was around 30 or so I think, but he turned back the clock being picked at fullback. His size was the only thing really letting him down, when it those years every back needed to be 90+ KG to be considered effective.
Prince was definitely great for the titans and I do recall tigers going downhill after he left, as it became apparent that Prince was the glue keeping them together and not Benji/Farah.

I guess to me it's that Prince was their best and was able to offer 3-4 good years of footy, but not a decade. It doesn't suggest that recruitment had long term vision or there wasn't an opportunity for them to pick up a decade long franchise player straight away.

I think when Brisbane 2.0 comes in the player market is very fluid and can allow a Munster to come on board along with someone like a BSmith, etc. so they can try and find their JT type franchise player to build around.

The success of Brisbane 2.0 will come down to their initial recruitment and which big franchise player they pick up.

Will it be an ageing star on the decline (not suggesting Prince is an equivalent here, just someone that is a panic buy to get some star power) or can they grab a superstar on the rise... they'll have the money to go after whoever they want in the market (pending contract status) so those first big signings will be massive to their success moving forward.

The only issue they are facing at the moment is how late the NSWRL are leaving it for them to get started... they'll be able to start recruiting players as of November 1 (about 5 weeks away), but you would want to have your R&R in place as well as your coach.

Bennett is the likely coach for whoever gets it and is an excellent start up coach to have as he'll have the whole of next year off to plan, but you'd wanna hope guys like BSmith, Harry and Manu haven't already made up their minds before you can get in front of them.
 

Sproj

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Almost 15 years on, the Titans still suck and are only just now getting their juniors coming to fruition. I hope the NRL are patient with the 17th team who will likely follow a similar path.
 

Big Pete

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Mar 12, 2008
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I always remember it as Prince being #1 but BroncsFan BroncsFan is right. Campbell was 1, Bailey was announced a few weeks after then it was Brian Carney.

I'm not sure if they were off contract or not, I believe the Gold Coast were granted an exemption and able to announce signings early. The only signing I know who was off contract was Carney who was finished with St. Helens and signed with the Knights in the interim. However, he ended up getting home-sick during his time with the Knights and ended up returning home.

Prince signed just as the 2006 season started and that set the tone for the Tigers season and really ended whatever chance they had of establishing themselves as one of the better teams in the NRL.
 

theshed

Just a Game
Aug 28, 2010
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On the Gold Coast Titans, once Souths were re-admitted the NRL were always looking to expand to an even numbers just to avoid giving teams the weekly bye. The NRL was also facing an issue with talent retention as more and more players were turning to Rugby and the ESL so opening up more spots was a way to fix that.

The Gold Coast put together a great proposal centered on junior development with the club being spear-headed by this savvy young businessman and former player Michael Searle and the Roosters assistant coach tipped to be the next big Rugby League mind, John Cartwright.

They were admitted in early to mid 2005 and they set the blueprint on how to build a successful club by signing one of the best halves in the game in Scott Prince and one of the best front row forwards in Luke Bailey. They made some really astute signings around that time bringing in Preston Campbell, Anthony Laffranchi, Brian Carney to help flesh the squad out. One of the big coups was Mat Rogers who was just beginning to get long in the tooth in Rugby and needed a fresh start. On a personal note, Rogers was a big coup for me as his Origin debut was one of the first matches I saw and he instantly became one of my favourites.

Then they started signing strong fringe first graders like Nathan Friend, Gavin Cooper, Brett Delaney, Luke O'Dwyer, Michael Henderson, Clint Amos etc.

It was a strong side that was going to ensure they'd finish above the wooden spoon but the litmus test was their ability to develop quality Rugby League players. They had a strong group of exciting up and comers with their three biggest prospects being Shannon Walker, Chris Sandow and Bodene Thompson. Later on they would go onto snare the signing of one of the most exciting youngsters coming through the Queensland schools system in Jordan Rapana but that was the initial three players and none of them really panned out for the Gold Coast.

The first loss was Sandow who simply had a better opportunity at South Sydney. Souths halfback was Jeremy Smith, a NSW halfback who is most famous for being Sean Hampstead over in what was set to be one of the lowest scoring games in Rugby League history until that incident. After that, things got pretty bare with Eddie Paea not quite working out. Souths had an affiliation with Easts Tigers which is how they got Dave Tyrell and they were on the hunt for quality Queensland talent. So they picked up Luke Capewell who was one of the biggest talents of his age group and Sandow.

Walker was the litmus test and it's difficult to know where it all went wrong exactly. Walker was sensational for Tweed Heads in their successful 2007 campaign and appeared to be the next big fullback to come through and the obvious successor to Campbell. However he never improved on that season and really faded into obscurity.

So those players didn't work out and they really under-performed at that 20s level. The NYC could be another conversation entirely in terms of pros and cons, but the Gold Coast were promoting themselves as a development club and the best they could manage was an 8th placed finish in 10 years in the competition. It wasn't like they didn't try either they went ahead and signed some pretty big names in juniors like centre Dominic Walsh (Souths), second row Ryan James (Melbourne), Kingi Akoula (Wests) and Ronnie Avolli (Penrith) around that time and a lot of those players were just lost to the game.

Still their recruitment was strong and that was good enough to build them into a quality team by their third season. On paper the Titans had invested wisely and well on their way of establishing a strong foot-print in Rugby League until issues started to come to light about their finances. In an effort to try and stay ahead of the competition, the Gold Coast had spent so much money they were facing bankrupcy and in the end had to sell some of their assests just to remain in the competition. This all came to a head in 2012 but the signs had been apparant since 2010 they were beginning to cut corners with their juniors which sent the club spiralling.

From there you have Cartwright stretching the succession plan out longer and failing to get the club on track. You have the Neil Henry era where he was essentially a placeholder before they took a gamble on another up and coming coach which backfired spectacularly in Garth Brennan. Brennan had some good ideas initially but his decision to bring all these expendable players from Penrith with him hurt.

I feel like the legacy of the Titans is a team that pulled the wool over everybody's eyes. They had a good five year plan but the execution was horrendous and they're extremely lucky to still be around. I do think they're starting to turn things around and the focus on junior development is the right option for them. However they really need Jayden Campbell and the like to step up unlike the previous generation.
Great read Pete. Cheers
 

ningnangnong

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Mar 5, 2008
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I still remember being at the 2006 Grand FInal and the big 'unveiling' of some of the Titans players. Or am I dreaming that? Preston Campbell was definitely the marquee signing, so to speak. All the promotion featured him.

Miss watching Presto play TBH, proper footy player, not just an athlete who follows instructions.

Side note - this is one of my favourite threads.
 

Big Pete

International Captain
Mar 12, 2008
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So I wanted to skip forward a season to 2004 in what proved to be a really pivotal season for the club. The Broncos were coming off a disasterous end to their 2003 campaign where they lost eight straight and they clearly needed to make some changes.

In the ensuing years the game had become more structured with teams placing further emphasis on last tackle plays and set pieces to break opposition teams down.

The Broncos were lacking in that department and if Lockyer couldn't conjure something up they would really struggle to put teams away.

There was a lot of uncertainty about the Broncos headed into 2004 and one of the more popular predictions heading into that season is that they'd miss the 8 entirely.

One of the best calls Bennett made that season was addressing the spine. Everyone knows about the bold decision to play Locky at 6, but he also complimented that decision by making Brett Seymour the starting 7 and bringing in Barry Berrigan as the 9. Both players really suited the meta with Seymour's kicking game providing the Broncos with far more control while Barry's ability to get out of dummy half helped the team get on the front foot.

Of course the coup de gras was selecting 17 year old Karmichael Hunt at fullback. I don't think we'll ever see such an extraordinary selection in our lifetime. Not only was it remarkable to see a 17 year old virtual no-name displaced the Australian Captain but it proved to be 100% the right move.

What made it so impressive is that it wasn't exactly smooth sailing either. The Warriors really went after Karmichael and they caused him to make some errors but he came out of it and quickly became one of the better players in the competition before he could even legally have a drink.

On paper Bennett made all the right moves and Brisbane quickly asserted themselves as one of the front runners again. Everything was going swimingly even a rib injury to Lockyer couldn't dampen things until...

Both Brett Seymour and Barry Berrigan suffered season ending injuries mid-way through the season.

Suddenly the complexion of the season changed and the Broncos had to scrape as many wins as they could. Players like Paul Green, Darren Smith and recently retired Ben Ikin were called in and had to work together with younger players like David Stagg, Neville Costigan, Gary Tupou and Tom Learoyd.

Despite losing Seymour and B. Berrigan the basic framework of the team was there with 1. Hunt and 6. Lockyer. That was the key for the team and players like Casey McGuire and Michael Ryan who had to fill in flourished in their roles. McGuire in particular really came of age at this time as a Mr. Fix It which would become vital in 2006.

Just to illustrate that point, the Broncos scored more than a 100 points than the year prior despite missing their starting halfback and hooker for the majority of the season.

The Broncos were 15-5 when they played front-runners Canterbury infront of a packed Suncorp Stadium. That was the day any hope of a premiership was thwarted as they ran out 46-18 winners. After toiling all season, the Broncos hit the wall and went out in straight sets. It was a disappointing end to the season and fans expected better but by the same token considering where the club started there was a lot of positives to take out of that year.

With Lockyer starring in the Tri-Series the future was looking very bright with the premiership window well and truly open.
 

Super Freak

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Jan 25, 2014
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I still remember being at the 2006 Grand FInal and the big 'unveiling' of some of the Titans players. Or am I dreaming that? Preston Campbell was definitely the marquee signing, so to speak. All the promotion featured him.

Miss watching Presto play TBH, proper footy player, not just an athlete who follows instructions.

Side note - this is one of my favourite threads.

No you’re not dreaming that. That was the big part of the pre-game entertainment, the unveiling of the Gold Coast Titans.

On the TV they showed a video that was shot on the beaches of Surfers Paradise that had people wearing the jersey and the name on the back. Can’t remember if it was the actual players or just random people as they never showed their faces.

Then after that video came the unveiling of the Titans at the stadium.
 

Super Freak

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It’s too bad the Titans stuffed up their 5 year plan because they were coming good at the back end of it finishing in the top 4 in 2009 and 2010 and making the Prelim Final. Then it all came crashing down in 2011 finishing with the wooden spoon and they were never able to recover. They became the easy beats and the side where 2 points was pretty much guaranteed if you turned up.

They are showing some signs of life now, but it’s whether they can maintain that is the big question.
 

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