Titans vow to win Gold Coast hearts
Titans coach Neil Henry has vowed to give the Gold Coast a team they can once again be proud of after plans for a new state-of-the-art training facility were unveiled at Parkwood International Golf Club on Friday.
To be rebranded Club Parkwood, the multi-purpose facility will become the new home of the Titans from early in the 2016 NRL season as the club endeavours to reconnect with a community that felt burnt by the failed Centre of Excellence.
Construction of the $20-30 million development is due to begin early next month with hopes that the football team will be able to relocate from their temporary facilities at Pizzey Park in Burleigh soon after the 2016 NRL season kicks off.
Four of the Titans' first seven losses of the 2015 season were by six points or less and senior member of the playing squad William Zillman said the opportunity to train in world class facilities could be the difference in a return to finals football for the first time since 2010.
"Throughout the whole journey the coaching staff have cemented into us that we just needed to focus on football but there's always that other thought in the back of your mind and it's hard to get rid of," Zillman said of training first at The Southport School and then Burleigh.
"The game is evolving all the time and is so professional these days that all those little one per-centers, they can really make a difference.
"It's a great step forward for the club and one we've probably been waiting on or probably the last 12 months.
"This really is a new page for the Titans and once the facility is up and the whole organisation is in there together it's onwards and upwards.
"I really hope the community does get back behind the Titans because we're here to stay and we really want to serve the Gold Coast well."
Having been a head coach at two clubs with close community ties first at Canberra and then North Queensland, coach Neil Henry said having a dedicated home for the Titans is an important step in winning football games and converting young fans.
"Our administration and our football department have been separate for 12 months and that makes it hard for us to feel like a club when we're in separate buildings," Henry said.
"We have a connection and a hub here that the fans can come to. The players are going to be training here so it will make it a lot easier for the community to connect with the players, whether at training or post-game, and we've got a venue to come to.
"[If we] get a successful club, we convert some of those people who have relocated here that might support a Sydney-based team, when you get a successful team here we convert those.
"We've got to convert the parents but we've got to convert the children first that are coming out of the school system.
"We have to give them a club they're proud to follow and want to follow.
"[We have a] fantastic junior nursery, the numbers playing rugby league are enormous on the Coast, so it's here, we just need to tap into that and be successful."