Stunned at the manner in which they conducted themselves in the lead-up to the sacking of coach Neil Henry, former Bulldogs captain and Sharks premiership-winner Michael Ennis says the Titans must get their next move right or risk never fulfilling the Gold Coast's potential.
The Titans are preparing to face Ennis's former Canterbury team at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday with assistant coaches Terry Matterson and Craig Hodges calling the shots and have commenced the process to find Henry's ultimate successor.
Writing in this week's issue of Big League, Ennis lashed Titans management for not keeping their enquiries into Henry's relationship with his players in-house and said they not only needed a new coach but to add a senior player with genuine leadership qualities.
"How they move forward is crucial for the Titans," Ennis says in the Round 25 issue of Big League.
"They must get it right and it comes down to the CEO and board – not the players – to make the right decision to ensure the club is successful on the Gold Coast.
"The Titans need two things, but they need to invest. They need a senior player who can help change the culture of the club – a James Graham, Adam Blair or even a good club man like Chris Heighington – so these younger players have someone to show them how to prepare and carry themselves in the community. And they obviously need a coach. They need a man-manager who can work with the various personalities in the club and get them all on the same page.
"Their next decision needs to be based on the long-term, because it will define them.
"It will determine if they can become the rugby league club that Queensland and the NRL need them to be."
But most concerning to Ennis was the decision by CEO Graham Annesley and chair Rebecca Frizelle to allow the club's crisis meetings to be broadcast in a very public forum, admonishing their decision to inform the media that they would be calling their coach and star player in Jarryd Hayne in for talks last Monday.
"Graham Annesley is a great leader and chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle is also very impressive, but the reality is that some things need to be kept in-house," Ennis said.
"They publicly announced on a Sunday there would be a board meeting the following day to resolve a drama between the coach and a star player. The move automatically put the club in the spotlight and stirred up a media furore that wouldn't cease until a decision was made either way.
"The Titans were due to play Parramatta on Thursday, and short turnarounds are hard enough as it is.
"Following the board meeting they said they needed a few more days to decide, which opened the window for speculative and negative headlines even wider.
"Annesley's press conference offered no real answers either, and I question some of the comments – particularly around the type of coach they want to recruit and their hopes to have secured the position by November, in time for the pre-season."
The Round 25 issue of Big League looks at whether the Broncos are on track to repeat their premiership success of 25 years ago, James Maloney priming the Sharks fortheir premiership defence, the record-breaking Panthers, the untold story of the Gold Coast and the top eight returns of prodigal sons. On sale now at newsagents, supermarkets, at the ground and via www.magsonline.com.au/big-league.