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Senior Titans insist future is secure

Senior Titans insist future is secure
Senior Titans including Greg Bird and Nate Myles insist the future of the Gold Coast is secure despite their tumultuous week that saw head coach John Cartwright step down. Credit: Brett Crockford. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Gold Coast co-captains Greg Bird and Nate Myles have shouted down suggestions that the Titans could be headed the way of the Seagulls, Giants and Chargers, insisting the connection with the local community will ensure its survival.

Bird and Myles were joined by vice-captain William Zillman at a press conference less than 24 hours after coach John Cartwright tendered his resignation and conceded that the players felt a sense of responsibility for his demise with two years still to run on his contract.

In a tumultuous week for the club that began with the commencement of an internal review last Monday and included majority shareholder Michael Searle also standing down as a director and head of football, the players must now find a way to send Cartwright out a winner and keep their flailing finals hopes alive for a further week.

With investigations into a possible salary cap breach also hanging over the club's head and no major sponsor signed up for 2015, many have questioned whether the Gold Coast community can support an NRL team but Bird said there is no fear among the players of the club being shut down.

"The groundwork that 'Searley' and 'Carty' and the like have put in over the years, they've built the club around the community which has probably made it long term," Bird said.

"The sides that have come and gone in the past probably haven't had that basis that they've really built so I don't really have a fear of the club going under, that's the last thing we need to be worrying about. We need to be worrying about getting this team together, the team that we have, the team that can potentially beat all the teams."

The Titans' home crowd average of 13,385 in 2014 is better than that of the Roosters, Sharks, Sea Eagles, Panthers and Raiders and Myles acknowledged that the responsibility for building on those numbers falls with the players.

"It would be pretty narrow-minded for us to get away from the fact that if we are winning games more people are going to be attracted to us in general and build on our crowds," Myles said.

"The start of the year was fantastic and the slump in the middle of the year has put us in this position but personally speaking coming to the club, this club community-wise is the best club I've been involved with.

"I do totally agree with the fact that not winning games probably does hinder us a bit but I do feel that the Gold Coast needs a rugby league team and if we're not here there will be a big hole in the community."

Myles and Bird both admitted being shocked to the decision by Cartwright to stand down after the Roosters game on Monday night but Myles supported the timing of the announcement, saying that it might be what is required to fuel their final month of football.

"For them to come out and say it now I feel it's them telling us it's now or never," said Myles, who has played 57 games for the club.

"The situation for us is that we need to come home strong and win every game. We're not going to go out there and have a 'Let's do it for Carty' week, it's just us, and he's provided everything for us to do everything we can and we're just not clicking at the moment and it's frustrating.

"On the back of this we have no excuses not to be able to rise to the challenge.

"I was a little bit taken aback by [the decision]. It's something that we as a playing group didn't want to see. We do feel somewhat responsible because the fact is if we were winning more games we wouldn't be having this discussion. It was a shock and it's something we've got to get on with now and focus on Monday night and the reigning premiers but we as a playing group need to lift for sure."

When he runs out on Monday night Zillman will become the fourth most capped player in Titans history having been recruited from Canberra for the 2009 season.

He was a try-scorer in the club's Preliminary Final loss to the Roosters in 2010 but denies that the financial difficulties the club experienced as a result of the construction of the Centre of Excellence played no part in their lack of success over the past four seasons.

"At the time when it was going on it was obviously quite a touchy subject and it might have rattled us a little bit but I thought as a playing group that was something that we moved on from really quickly," Zillman said. "I don't think it had any bearing on the results of the last few years."
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