Kelly reaffirms Titans commitment
Titans major shareholder Darryl Kelly has reaffirmed his long-term commitment to the future of the Gold Coast Titans and says he has the backing of the community to ensure the club's survival.
A horror six months for the club hit a new low on Friday when allegations surfaced that two players, Beau Fallon and Jamie Dowling, are facing charges of arranging for the supply of cocaine. But 24 hours later, Kelly insisted it would not impact his stake in the club.
Although he conceded that the latest events caused him to consider his continued involvement with the Titans, Kelly said the outpouring of support from within the community and the strength of the club's board and management will see him stay strong.
Kelly was almost brought to tears as he told NRL.com of a Gold Coast local who had reached out to him and committed to become a member in 2015 in the wake of Friday's revelations and revealed that Parkwood International Golf Course are one of number of organisations to have offered their facilities as a temporary training base.
The Titans are currently evaluating a proposal by Parkwood to make the club their permanent base from 2016 and Kelly said officials from Parkwood were quick to offer their hand as the club prepares for its Round 1 season opener against Wests Tigers on March 7.
"We're working through that, but we've had lots of offers, it's quite amazing," Kelly said after the club on Friday elected to move from their training base at The Southport School.
"The amount of support we've got from everybody – all my e-mails, all my texts – are all people saying, 'Hang in there, we'll get this right,' which gives you lots of encouragement.
"We've had a number of offers, they'll be evaluated over the next day or so.
"One of the short-term options was from Parkwood ringing me saying that they think they can help us out in the interim. I've had a number of conversations with them in the past 24 hours and they're all about... We've got to have a meeting on Monday to look at timelines that they indicated that if push came to shove they think they could sort something out."
Although Kelly admits the club has given their fan base little to get excited about in recent seasons, a groundswell of support gathered on social media as diehard Titans fans started the hashtag #iwillneverwalkaway.
Getting off to a winning start at Cbus Super Stadium in Round 1 would be a much-needed boost for the club and Kelly said it is incumbent upon their fans to turn out in droves in support of their NRL team prospering on the Gold Coast.
"I think there's a little bit of pressure on the Coast people [to turn up], and that seems to be the tone of everything I've seen so far," Kelly told NRL.com.
"They're not blaming the management or anybody for what's happened, there are some allegations about some players that have done the wrong thing. That doesn't really change the long-term plan. It's beholden on them to come out and give us some support.
"We've given the people of the Gold Coast very few reasons to support us over the last few years, through a number of events. We've just got to turn that around and give them what they deserve, which is a high-quality football side with high morals and integrity."
Amidst a summer of crises that saw Paul Carter sacked and Greg Bird stripped of the co-captaincy, Titans CEO Graham Annesley has remained resilient and Kelly said without his leadership the club may not have survived.
"Under other management I don't think we would have survived," Kelly said.
"He's such a fantastic influence on everybody, he communicates with everyone and he's got such integrity and he's the right person to have.
"The board, the rest of the staff doing all these long hours and love the Titans and want to see them succeed, it's very hard to walk away and I'm very fortunate that I can afford to do what I do.
"I had pains in the stomach and I was concerned for the others as well and they were all concerned for everybody else. It was amazing the number of phone calls going between the directors and Graham asking whether they were all right and how they were coping.
"It certainly made me think about things and it was a terrible day but you have bad days every now and again and you get over them. We'll take a rational look at things and move on."