The Gold Coast Titans have recruited heavily and enter 2019 with two of the game’s best young players.
Will it be enough to launch a raid on the top eight this year?
Jesse Arthars (South Sydney Rabbitohs, 2019), Shannon Boyd (Canberra Raiders, 2022), Ryley Jacks (Melbourne Storm, 2019), Brian Kelly (Manly Sea Eagles, 2021), Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers, 2021), Tyrone Roberts (Warrington Wolves, 2020)
Kane Elgey (Manly Sea Eagles), Brendan Elliot (Manly Sea Eagles), Joe Greenwood (Wigan Warriors), Konrad Hurrell (Leeds Rhinos), Ryan Simpkins (retired)
The Titans finished the 2018 season in 14th position. Eight wins and 16 losses, with a points differential of -110 sums it all up perfectly.
They were never in the running for finals footy despite some brilliant performances. They just couldn’t put together enough wins and ultimately finished seven wins outside the eight.
Bryce Cartwright was the biggest flop of 2018 in terms of signings after arriving with huge hype.
AJ Brimson emerged as a future star with some breathtaking showings of attacking flair.
They failed to live up to expectations in 2018 and will be looking to do far better in the new year.
Best Recruit: Tyrone Peachey
I’ve said before, and am more than happy to go on record yet again, Tyrone Peachey is a huge signing. The Origin and Kangaroo utility can play literally anywhere.
That said, he is yet to really make a position his own. That will change in 2019 as he becomes one of the Titans main men, surely in the halves to start the season.
Peachey has every tool in the world to become a genuine superstar on the holiday strip. If he can hit the ground running then the Titans are far better placed to start the season with a bang.
Given he’ll likely start in the halves, Peach will have to make plenty of tackles, and will be looked upon to create serious attacking opportunities. He’ll thrive under the increased workload.
Future Star/One To Watch: AJ Brimson
Given his incredible performances for the Titans in 2018, it’s hard to say Brimson is a ‘future star’ but for mine in 2019 he gets even better.
Bursting onto the scene after his 15 performances for the club last year, Brimson stared in the halves and at fullback. He likely has the number one jersey sewn up.
He lacks the size of the likes of a Tedesco or RTS but has blistering speed and an incredible ball playing game.
Given he will have another full off-season under his belt, it will be fun to see what the youngster can produce in 2019.
Star Player: Ash Taylor
This is Ash Taylor’s year. For the Titan’s sake it absolutely has to be.
Taylor is key to everything that is good on the Gold Coast and looks set to explode into superstar status now that he has two seasons under his belt.
With an elite kicking game, Taylor will be looked upon as the play maker given he will be joined by the running Peachey in the halves.
Taylor has every tool in the kit and with Origin spots potentially up for grabs, look for young Ash to push his Origin claims early in the season with performances for the Titans.
Recruitment Grade: B-
The Titans have recruited well, without adding an absolute megastar in the process.
Tyrone Peachey is one of the best signings for the upcoming season. This is a brilliant move for both player and club and will allow Peach to become a full time number six.
Shannon Boyd adds serious size to an already frightening pack. He will surely have to find a way to play more minutes to justify his salary but he has the talent and size to become an asset.
Brian Kelly will slot straight into the centres. Ryley Jacks and Tyrone Roberts will provide cover if Peachey’s likely move into the halves doesn’t work out.
They haven’t added a season changing player like Johnson or Crichton, but all things considered they look a better side for their new signings.
Titans fans can rest easy in the knowledge that I had the Warriors finishing with the spoon last season and they featured in the finals. Book your finals leave from work now.
That said, I just can’t see this side producing the points needed to win a series of games lifting them into serious finals contention.
In Brimson and Taylor they have two talented attacking freaks while Tyrone Peachey is one of the signings of the off-season. They also have an all star forward pack.
Unfortunately their bench looks very ordinary and that backline just doesn’t looks like a side that will keep opposition coaches up at night.
Brian Kelly is a clever get while Copley can produce. Don and Sami can find the line, but with due respect to those four players, they don’t make many others sides run on 13.
The Titans 2019 finals hopes fall on the shoulders of Brimson and Taylor. Given that Brimson is still a rookie and Taylor was over stretched in 2018, I just can’t see them beating many sides in 2019.
If their forward pack destroys opposition defences and lays the platform for Brimson to run riot, who knows? The safe money is on them missing finals.