AAP Rugby

Brennan exit turns focus on Titans’ future

By AAP Newswire

Gold Coast's next coaching appointment looms as make or break for the future of an NRL presence in Australia's sixth-largest city.

Garth Brennan's 40-game reign as Titans' coach came to an end on Sunday with the club announcing it had sacked the 47-year-old less than two years after appointing him.

Brennan leaves the Titans having won just 12 matches across one-and-a-half seasons and last on the ladder after a 24-2 defeat to Penrith on Friday night.

"The results the club has achieved on the field this season have not met expectations, and the team's performance in recent weeks has fallen to a level that is unacceptable to the board, our members, fans, sponsors and partners," Titans' executive chairman Dennis Watt said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, that has left the club in a situation where Garth remaining in the position of head coach has become untenable."

Assistants Craig Hodges and Luke Burt will take over as interim coaches until the end of the season but finding the right man to replace Brennan, and convincing him to join the embattled Titans is a significant challenge.

After being bailed out by the NRL when they fell into administration in 2015, there have been few positives since for the Titans.

The marquee signing of Jarryd Hayne ended in disaster with the ex-NFL player's presence leading to former coach Neil Henry's departure in 2017.

Brennan was then appointed on a three-year deal with no first-grade coaching experience and after a 14th-place finish in his first season at the helm was expected to do better this year after several big-money recruits arrived.

By May the club had ordered rugby league Immortal Mal Meninga to undertake a review after a 22-16 loss to Canterbury sent the Titans to 2-8 record - their worst start to an NRL season.

Meninga is set to deliver the findings of his review to the Titans board on Monday and it's understood it won't be easy reading for the club's hierarchy.

A playing group filled with underperformers on big-money deals and average attendances that have slipped to 11,206 in 2019 from a peak of 21,618 in 2008 won't help in luring the best candidate for the coaching role.

Within hours of Brennan's sacking, Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters said he wouldn't be chasing the position.

Walters was seen as the favourite to succeed Brennan but said he wanted to continue with the Maroons for the foreseeable future.

His decision leaves a limited field of candidates for the Titans to chase including St Helens coach Justin Holbrook as well as Sydney Roosters assistants Craig Fitzgibbon and Adam O'Brien.

Walters said whoever gets the role had the potential to make themselves an icon of the city.

"They've battled all along haven't they down at the Coast, since their inception way back in 1988, to get a footprint on the Gold Coast," Walters told Fox Sports.

"It's a tough one but it'd also be a good opportunity for some coach coming in.

"Who that is, I'll leave that up to the Titans."

Meanwhile NSW coach Brad Fittler, speaking before Brennan's sacking was confirmed, suggested the time had maybe come for the NRL to cut its losses with the city.

Fittler said with the NRL keen to have a second Brisbane team in the competition by 2023, the Titans might be ripe for a move north.

"Why wouldn't the Gold Coast be the second Brisbane team?," Fittler told the Nine Network.

"They had a couple of good years at the start, without a doubt, and they played semi-finals but it's far from a success."