Last season placing: 14th
A huge 2015 awaits the Gold Coast Titans both on and off the field. They enter their ninth season as a franchise with a new coach in Neil Henry after the previous eight had John Cartwright in charge. Foundation players Luke Bailey and Ashley Harrison moved into retirement, with Mark Minichiello, Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair heading to the new era in Super League. The Titans must turn around their 2014 form to keep sponsors and fans interested in the glamour strip club.
Key Players: this year will come down to the leadership and maturity of Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Luke Douglas and Dave Taylor. Bird will have a point to prove after a boozy wedding down in Byron Bay in the off-season. Taylor returned to the Queensland squad after a two year absence and will continue to be a threat on the fringes but as teams work out to curb his threat, coach Henry may need to re-think the strapping back-rowers game.
Drawbacks: losing so many experienced players during the off-season will mean the Titans will take two steps back before going forward. You can’t replace overnight the experience and dedication of Minichiello, Harrison and Bailey. But what you can build is for the future by buying fringe first grade players like Matt Robinson, Lachlan Burr and David Hala. You would expect the Titans to struggle with new combinations in the halves early on which could affect their scoring chances out wide. Off-field the Titans still have some issues to deal with including moving into a new training facility and improving their finances after the failed Centre of Excellence at Robina.
Story of 2015: Josh Hoffman has a lot of expectation on his shoulders after moving from the Brisbane Broncos. A change is as good as a holiday for the twenty-six year old now in his eighth season at the top level. He missed out on Four Nations selection for the Kiwis this year. Hoffman with a good season could return to somewhere near his 2013 form where he scored fifteen tries despite Brisbane’s failure to make the finals.
Ladder: To miss the top eight
Top Tryscorer: Anthony Don
Top Pointscorer: Aiden Sezer
Player of the Year: Luke Douglas