2017 NRL SEASON REVIEW | Gold Coast Titans

Record: 7 wins, 17 losses

Position: 14th

Player of the Year: Anthony Don

Season Summary

After making the finals in 2016 and improving their roster over the off-season, much more was expected of the Titans than the disappointment that was season 2017. Their year was full of disaster both on and off the field, as they won just 7 games and finished the season without a coach. There were times when the Titans looked like a dangerous football side, however with a shocking injury run in the early half of the season, the Gold Coast were never able to play consistently well as a team.

The Titans were fighting an uphill battle from the get-go with Neil Henry finding it impossible to get the same 17 on the field every week as the Titans seemed to constantly have a new player getting injured each week. Young halfback Ashley Taylor was a shining light for the Titans for most of the year, and even lead the competition for try assists in just his second season of first grade.

The Gold Coast were still in the finals race up until Round 20, however things went terribly wrong from then on as Neil Henry appeared to lose the locker room. He was rumoured to have a falling out with Jarryd Hayne, however the issue appears to have been much deeper as Henry was sacked in the final weeks of the competition, leaving plenty of question marks around the Titans for the 2018 season.

Talking Points

Hayne-Henry Feud

Undoubtedly the biggest talking point of the Titans’ year is unfortunately the drama between coach Neil Henry and Jarryd Hayne that plagued the back-end of the season. Rumours emerged that there were dramas between the two, causing a major distraction for the Titans. Clearly something went wrong for Henry, as the players appeared to stop putting in for their coach when the top 8 became out of reach. The Gold Coast were competitive for most of the season, however once their finals aspirations were gone after a 24-16 loss to Penrith, the Titans effort also went out the window. The Gold Coast were terrible to finish the season, going out with a 7 game losing streak that included a 54-0 hiding at the hands of their closest rivals the Broncos. Henry was sent packing as a result, and Titans fans will be praying that their coach was the reason for such poor form to close out 2017.

Signs of Danger

They may have only won 7 games in 2017, however in many of those 7 wins the Titans showed signs of a serious top 8 side, before they usually backed it up with a poor loss the week after. Their biggest victory was undoubtedly the 38-36 upset they scored over the Storm in round 10. The big 3 of Smith, Slater and Cronk were on fire for Melbourne, yet the Titans showed terrific spirit and a whole lot of skill to steal the victory in the late stages of the game. To this day the Storm have not lost a game with Smith, Slater and Cronk on the field since their loss to the Titans. The Titans also managed to beat last years premiers the Sharks on both occasions in 2017, first with a 16-12 victory in Round 8 and then a 30-10 smashing in Round 19. On days like that the Titans would look like world beaters, but their season was also filled with losses to lowly sides like the Knights and Tigers.

Halves Pairing Still not Set

The Titans got through an entire season without a set halves pairing in place, and with a new coach yet to come on board, the number 6 and 7 is far from set in stone on the Gold Coast. Ash Taylor has a mortgage on the number 7 jersey, however it is who will partner him that is still up in the air. Titans fans were licking their lips at the thought of Kane Elgey returning from an ACL injury to join Taylor in the halves, however the 23 year old looked to be lacking confidence in his return to first grade, with his small frame becoming a favoured target for opposition players. The Titans are banking on the 2 young guns to lead their franchise for the next 10 years, however Elgey will need to step it up majorly in 2018 if he wants a spot in the starting side. Taylor has been vocal about Tyrone Roberts being his preferred partner, and the livewire five-eight had a relatively strong season. However, Roberts spent the year all over the field as he filled in at fullback, hooker and off the bench due to the Titans injury crisis. Both players have plenty to offer, however it is up to the new coach to pick a set halves combination that can lead the Titans to glory.

2018 Gains and Losses

New Signings: Jai Arrow (Brisbane Broncos, 2020), Keegan Hipgrave (Brisbane Broncos, 2018), Brenton Lawrence (Manly Sea Eagles, 2019)

Losses: Tyler Cornish (released), Chris Grevsmuhl (released), Chris McQueen (Wests Tigers), Nathaniel Peteru (Leeds Rhinos), Leivaha Pulu (New Zealand Warriors)


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