AAP Rugby

Coach choice Titans’ last stand: chairman

By AAP Newswire

Gold Coast executive chairman Dennis Watt has labelled the appointment of the club's next coach as "the last stand" - crucial to the Titans' NRL survival.

Watt revealed on Monday it was he who decided to sack coach Garth Brennan following Friday's 24-2 loss to Penrith, which left the Titans rooted to the bottom of the ladder after 17 rounds.

The pair met on Saturday morning when Watt told Brennan his time at the Titans was up, less than two years into the role.

With the process to find Brennan's replacement underway, Watt pulled no punches about the importance of getting the right man in to deliver elusive sporting success to Australia's sixth-largest city.

"We're in no doubt that this is it," Watt said.

"This is the last stand, we have to get it right.

"There are plenty of other people banging on the door who would probably like to launch teams elsewhere."

NRL head of football Graham Annesley, the Titans' chief executive when Brennan was appointed, dismissed the suggestion of the Gold Coast as a graveyard for professional sports teams and said he was convinced the Titans would be a long-term success.

"I'm sure the club has a fantastic future, it's still a very young club. It's a great breeding ground for young players," Annesley said.

"I know they'll have success. How long that takes? I'm not sure."

The club's board was presented the report from a mid-season review headed by Titans' head of performance and culture Mal Meninga on Monday.

Watt said Meninga's report had not sounded the death knell for Brennan, who was dismissed eight months after his contract had been extended through to the end of the 2020 season.

The decision to axe Brennan was based purely on the team's poor onfield performance in 2019, Watt said.

"At the end of the day it was about the reality of the situation. We had eight from 24 wins last year, we're four from 16 now and trending downwards," Watt said.

"It's a tough business and we live or die by our results. That's it in essence.

"We did go into the new season with high hopes, particularly around our new recruits. We had Mal Meninga on board to help mentor Garth as well and guide the direction of the club.

"We certainly thought we'd be a top-eight side this year and we're not, we're bouncing around the bottom of the table."

Already the club has received several expressions of interest in the role.

Brennan arrived at the Titans with extensive lower-grade experience at Newcastle and Penrith but Watt said the 47-year-old had struggled with some of the pressures of stepping up to NRL-level.

He said experience in first-grade could well be a crucial factor in deciding who takes over the position.

"Ours is a highly pressurised game with most of the focus on the coaches," Watt said.

"Garth certainly felt that pressure, particularly when you're not winning.

"There's something to be said about having people alongside you who've been through those hard times and see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Watt also dismissed any suggestion of Kangaroos coach Meninga filling the position, saying there was "no chance" of that happening.

Brennan's assistants Craig Hodges and Luke Burt will lead the team for the remainder of the season in interim positions starting with Sunday's home match against table-topping Melbourne.