Predicted Finish: 6th
Actual Finish: 15th
Best Performer: Jarrod Wallace
Jarrod Wallace proved to be one of the signings of the season for the Titans, and in my view was their player of the season. His early-season form was such that it saw him earn a State of Origin call-up and he did not disappoint.
Averaging just under 135 metres per game, Wallace led the way for the Gold Coast club across his 21 appearances. Although he didn’t provide the destruction that Ryan James did in 2016, his role was equally important.
In a season summed up by injuries and underperforming stars, Wallace bucked the trend and outshone his previous season at the Broncos. There was talk of him playing lock but he spent the season in the front row and there were few more consistent performers in that role than Wallace.
Season Highlight: Round 8 and 19 wins over the Sharks
Although the Titans finished in 15th place they can claim to have beaten the 2016 defending Premiers twice in one season. A 16-12 win over the Sharks in the Shire in round eight ended a four-game losing streak for the Titans, and kicked off a three-game winning streak.
It was the kind of win that should have turned a season around, and for a short time, it really did. Jarryd Hayne was at his best while Leivaha Pulu was unstoppable. He monstered and extremely highly regard Shark forward pack and scored the winner late.
In round 19 the Titans blew the Sharks off the park in horrible weather. The gap between the intensity in the two sides that awful night was plain for all to see. The Titans wanted it more. Truth be told the result could have been even more one-sided.
Best Signing: Mitch Rein (Penrith)
Truth be told the Titans haven’t really been too active in the player market signing only six players. Brenton Lawrence retired from the game yesterday, meaning aside from Rein, Jai Arrow and Leilani Latu are the only two players likely to push for a spot in the 17 for round one.
That said, Rein is a very handy pick up. He has 137 games of NRL experience behind him and provides the Titans with another option outside first choice Nathan Peats. Peats is likely to be very much in the Origin picture again meaning a huge season is ahead.
Rein will slot straight in when Peats is unavailable while offering a great option off the bench if needed. I doubt he’ll run Peats out of a starting spot but he will certainly work hard and help guide is young halves when called upon.
Surely injuries cant be that bad in the future: I honestly can’t remember an injury toll that can compare to that of the 2017 Gold Coast Titans. It wasn’t so much that players missed too many games, but that they could only field their full strength side on a few occasions.
Just as one player returned to the field another star would go down injured. I lost count of the amount of times they finished a game with less than the 17 that started. Proctor, Peats and McQueen all missed a stack of games while Hayne and Hurrell only managed 16 each.
Every team is going to suffer injuries but you’d have to imagine the Titans luck changes in the new year.
Coaching situation settled: Throughout the entire year the story out of the Titans featured around the players vs coaching staff theme. Hayne vs Henry was obviously the reported main event but there were more stories surrounding the future of coach and players than it did about wins and losses.
Finally, the situation has been resolved, to a point. Neil Henry has been moved on and Garth Brennan is in. Hayne’s future looks to finally have been settled so that can only benefit the Titans long term. Yes, they lose a superstar player, but in reality, he never really lived up to the hype on the Gold Coast.
In Brennan, the Titans have taken a chance but it is one they couldn’t really pass up. He has tremendous success at NSW Cup level and has a brilliant relationship with his players. The Titans need stability, Brennan can provide it. Great move.
Four huge re-signings: The Titans didn’t do a whole lot in terms of bringing players to the club but they were able to lock down four key re-signings. Ash Taylor was the big one, signing a long-term deal despite big interest from the Broncos.
Ryan James also re-signed which was huge given the attention he likely received. Nathan Peats, despite strong reports linking him back to the Eels, extended his stay on the Gold Coast, as did firebrand centre Konrad Hurrell.
The club had originally re-signed Jarryd Hayne, although reports today indicate he is headed back to the Eels. His $1.2 million will be used elsewhere. That is a big positive.
Rugby League fans; thoughts on the Titans 2017? @zerotackle
— Moylan Mania 🍍 (@suthodan) November 29, 2017
Season Grading: D-
I honestly thought the Titans would improve on last season’s 8th placed position. They added Kevin Proctor and Jarrod Wallace to their ranks and had Konrad Hurrell and Jarryd Hayne with a full off-season under their belt. Plus the return of Kane Elgey.
Unfortunately for the Titans the 2017 season was more about who was fit rather than who was firing. As mentioned above the injury toll was horrific and it stunted any momentum the Titans were able to build off the back of some solid wins.
Kane Elgey hugely underwhelmed after spending 2016 on the sidelines and played a reduced role as a result. I hope and expect, him to return to form next season and form the exciting halves partnership with Ash Taylor that we were all expecting to see this year.
I’m probably softening in my old age but the Titans avoided an ‘F’ based purely on the horror run of injuries. Ultimately they should be pretty disappointed with their 2017 season but SURELY they have a better run next year.
Wallace and a few shining performances from the likes of Don and Taylor aside, 2017 is pretty much a write off for most of the Titans squad.