As someone who has both played and been involved with managing Rugby League on the Gold Coast, Scott Sattler has a better idea than most as to where the future lies for the Gold Coast Titans. With the recent speculation of the North Sydney Bears making a bid to take over the Titans brand , I sat down with the Panthers great, and discussed these rumours, as well as his thoughts on how the Titans brand can be successful on the Gold Coast.
Brock O’Brien: We’re here on the Gold Coast, your home these days. What are your thoughts on the recent talk of the North Sydney Bears taking over the Titans license and brand?
Scott Sattler: Horrible. It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t happen. I made my debut with the Gold Coast, I had 5 years with the Gold Coast franchise of the Seagulls and Chargers. I was involved with the Titans since day one, setting up the club as the General Manager of Rugby League, so Gold Coast Rugby League is very dear to my heart. I want to see it succeed, but for some reason the Gold Coast people don’t support national sports. That’s not only Rugby League, but basketball, soccer, even the AFL aren’t getting great crowds, so it disappoints me, but it’s obviously the history on the Gold Coast. The North Sydney Bears are not the answer, because Sydney doesn’t need another team. I know that the Central Coast isn’t Sydney, but it’s part of the outer Sydney region, and the NRL doesn’t need another ten games being played in Sydney. There are already too many Sydney teams as it is. The Gold Coast have proven that they can’t support a full season on the Gold Coast, so there needs to be a happy medium.
I want to see the Gold Coast Titans be successful, I really do. And you know what? They’re doing the right thing. They’re putting the right board in place, they’re getting training facilities in Parkwood which is going to be great for their future. They’re yet to sign a marquee player, other than the Cherry-Evans situation, but I think the only happy medium in between is I think someone needs to buy the club, and it needs to be turned into a South Queensland team. That way, half their home games can be played at Suncorp, and the other half at Robina. I think the Gold Coast fans will support in quality rather than quantity, and what I mean by that is they will support a quality of games, maybe five or six for the year, but they won’t support a quantity of games, which is 12 for the year. The happy medium would be to re-brand them as the South Queensland Titans, and play them out of Suncorp Stadium and Robina.
Brock O’Brien: What do you think the Titans and the NRL need to do to attract community interest on the Gold Coast?
Scott Sattler: Well I think they need to do what I just suggested. I think that with the South Queensland brand, they would introduce more fans through Toowoomba, Logan, the Redland districts,north of Brisbane,the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay. With that comes greater commercial exposure with regards to commercial sponsorship. They then broaden their perspective in regards to commercial exposure, out of that as well you broaden your exposure in regards to junior development. When a potential marquee player sees a brand that is not only based on the Gold Coast, but plays out of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, I think you attract more players that way as well, as it’s a bigger opportunity for them to make money off the field. I think that’s what the NRL has to do, and I’d like to see them come in with that mindset.
Conclusion – Brock O’Brien
The NRL have recently re-affirmed that the Titans will not be leaving the Gold Coast, putting the North Sydney Bears rumour to rest for the time being. The Titans have had a great start to 2016, winning 3 of their first 4 games, to place them in the top 4. They have also had good news off the field, with local superstar Kane Elgey showing loyalty to re-sign for a further two seasons, despite receiving stronger bids from rival clubs. The Gold Coast have won both of their home games for the season, and their past 5 games at Cbus Super Stadium, as they attempt to turn their home ground into a fortress again. The time is now for the Gold Coast fans to get behind their side by turning up to games, to show the NRL that the Titans deserve a future on the Gold Coast. Fail to do so, and Scott Sattler’s suggestion may be the best step forward for the future of Gold Coast Rugby League.