I grew up on the Gold Coast as a staunch Rugby League fan, just like every other kid I knew. You might say rugby league to the Gold Coast is what a baguette is to the French, it's just a part of our communal intertwining fabric.
Although through the years our colours may have changed and our mascot may now be shaped slightly different, you cannot question our unending loyalty. After the failures of the Gold Coast Giants and the Gold Coast Seagulls, rugby league finally arrived in real on the Gold Coast with the 'Gold Coast Chargers'.
Yes we had a funny shaped oval at Carrara and our squad was a diverse mix of former greats and kids who never made it, but this never mattered, We embraced our team and our game.
The ending of the Gold Coast Chargers in my opinion was more to do with the restructuring of a unified competition after the "ARL- Super League" war had ended, than it was to do with any mismanagement at club level. It was inevitable that the competition would have to trim the fat to maintain the level of competition needed to succeed as a competitive viable national sport. The Gold Coast chargers along with a number of other clubs were the sacrificial lambs to go the slaughter house.
Fast forward a decade and we are the Gold Coast Titans, you may think after three failures supporters would be apprehensive about pouring their hearts into a team, but no, the Gold Coast community instantly caught a large wave of "Titan Fever".
It was hard to get a seat, easily the most prized ticket in town. A great squad with a gun coach reaching for repeat performances in the top prized top 4.
Our CEO was so respected amongst his peers he was able to lobby the NRL to create a League commission that would oversee the development of the game at every level. Another part of Gold Coast Titan success was our Centre of Excellence. A multimillion dollar centre that would give our players the physical and mental advantage to succeed at the next level.
And yes, once again it all falls apart
- We have to keep reading about drink driving.
- Salary cap irregularities.
- Huge Debt hanging over the club's existence
- Innuendo about a player allegedly being given a house outside of the salary cap.
- Tradesman furious that have been allegedly been ripped off.
- Players embroiled in a situation that involves the party drug cocaine.
- Salary cap breaches.
- Public Urination
- Continued poor performances on the field.
Despite all of the above, the Gold Coast community continues to rally. Seeing the fans at the airport amongst the throng of media pressure was another showing of uncompromising support.
If anything new C.E.O Graham Annersley could use this support as the catalyst for survival in the short and long term. The Rugby League fans of the Gold Coast don't need a premiership, they don't need a Greg Inglis in their side.
All they need is a team to support. They need a place to go on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon where they can do community together. Now I know the Gold Coast has the "Suns", but if you ask long term Gold Coast residents they will tell you straight away they need a league team to be a real town.
Maybe it's time we looked to the fans of this once great club to rekindle and capture the essence of what it really takes to have, and be a part of a rugby league club and town.
Postscript: Yesterday the Gold Coast Titans went into receivership and the NRL have taken the club under its wings so as to re-establish it.
Josh Hinds is a school chaplain on the Gold Coast, a family man and PSI's IT professional. Josh is an experienced writer on international sport.
Josh Hinds' previous articles may be viewed atwww.pressserviceinternational.org/joshua-hinds.html