The Titans financial pressures were apparent at CBUS Super Stadium yesterday when the Gold Coast Titans hosted Penrith Panthers.
A decision was made to shut down the southern end of the stadium as Titans management were only expecting nine thousand for the 3pm kick-off. This meant a large portion of the crowd were looking into the sun in sweltering temperatures that reached the high twenty’s. Sections of the southern end would have provided comfort from the heat.
The official crowd was just over nine thousand but it appeared to be more around the four to five thousand mark.
I can see where the Titans are trying to promote their brand with the blessings of the National Rugby League taking ownership of the financially struggling club.
Entering the ground yesterday you were greeted by the enthusiastic cheerleaders waving their pom poms above their head. This was an attempt to warmly greet fans into the ground. There were friendly volunteers trying to sell doubles tickets and raffle tickets for a prize drawn near the hour mark.
Just like most NRL venues, drink and food were costly and when you add up the price of admission and poor home form, supporting the Titans would not be on the top of most lists of Gold Coast attractions.
Yesterday with Greg Bird’s milestone and a few bounce of the ball decisions heading their way, the Titans played good solid footy to thrash struggling Penrith Panthers.
But how much longer is rugby league on the Gold Coast going to last?
Bird, Nate Myles and Dave Taylor are International players and surely this should be enough for the Titans to half-fill the joint. I am not sure Daly Cherry-Evans is going to improve the crowds so much when he makes his move to the glitter strip next year.
Off-field behaviour, the drug charges to Bird, Taylor, Falloon and co have put in jeopardy vital sponsorship money to keep the club afloat.
They have long suffered at the hands of broadcasting rights as the Broncos dominate the Friday night market. Maybe a change of broadcast rights will provide a more even spread for Queensland clubs. News Limited papers suggesting today we may find out the broadcaster before the current Nine contract ends in 2017.
The National Rugby League will continue to throw money at the Titans in their battle for supremacy over Gary Ablett’s AFL Gold Coast Suns side. But it’s not an endless pit as the governing body fights player movements out of the code with their ‘war chest’.
I fear for the Titans after the lack of responsibility from their previous administration. David Smith and Graham Annersley have a lot of work to do to get things right on the Gold Coast.