Titans foundation player Luke Bailey says the club would be "silly" to look beyond new interim coach Neil Henry as a replacement for the departing John Cartwright.
Henry joined Cartwright's staff as an assistant at the start of the year after guiding the Cowboys to three successive finals series, and will take over the Gold Coast clipboard for the final four games, starting next Sunday against table-toppers Manly.
While dumped Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has been touted as a contender, Henry has the inside running for the head coaching role at the club in 2015, having impressed plenty at the club since his arrival.
Veteran prop Bailey, who along with Mark Minichiello are the only two remaining players from the Titans' inaugural year in 2007, said Henry has the support of the playing group to take on the full-time role.
"I'm sure he's got the inside running to be the coach next year, they'd be silly to look past him," Bailey said in the wake of the Titans' 26-18 loss to the Roosters, Cartwright's last game with the club.
"We've got a board now that has a process they've got to go through but I'm sure he'll be coaching next year.
"I'd say the smart option is to go with [Henry].
"He's got the relationship with the players and it'd be silly to go with someone completely different.
"He's got the backing of the players and is very honest with us.
"It doesn't matter who it is, he'll give them a serve if they need it, and that's something I respect.
"I thought he and Carty have formed a pretty good bond over the last four months and it would have been good to see them together for another year, but unfortunately it wasn't to be."
Cartwright himself also endorsed Henry as the man to take up the reins he has held for the past eight years. Speaking after the eight-point loss to the premiers, which also now makes it mathematically impossible for the Titans to make the finals, Cartwright threw his support behind the former Canberra and North Queensland mentor.
"Neil's been there for 12 months so he understands the landscape," Cartwright said.
"He understands where the club sits. I certainly endorse it. He's been very good for me, and he's been good for the players.
"It hasn't shown in our results but I think to be there for 12 months is a big advantage. You understand where we are as a club, and what our limitations are and what you have to work within. The 12 months that he's done there will have him in good stead for that."
Should Henry take up the position with the Titans, he will have to make a call on the futures of both Bailey (35) and Minichiello (32), with both off-contract at the end of the year. Bailey – who has suited up for the Titans 147 times, on top of another 119 games for the Dragons in a rough and tumble 15-year career – says he plans to play on again in 2015, but understands he may have to look elsewhere as the club goes about overhauling a side that has failed to qualify for the finals in four consecutive seasons.
"I can understand if the club wants to go in a different direction, I might head overseas if they don't want me but I'm not finished just yet," Bailey says.
"I haven't got much to stand on, not too many clubs are rushing out to sign 35-year-olds but my form's not too bad and I don’t think anything's changed over the last couple of years.
"For me I'm trying to grasp a bit of knowledge from blokes who have retired and they've said 'go until you can't go anymore.'
"At the moment I still love getting out of bed and competing. I'm already looking forward to the next off-season, trying to get out and run a few of these blokes into the ground, so while that's still alive, it's not time to retire yet."