Hagan: What Brennan needs to be a success
The man who gave Garth Brennan his start in coaching says that the Titans must find off-field stability in order for the third coach in the club's history to "future-proof" Gold Coast's place in the Telstra Premiership.
The first three incarnations of the Gold Coast franchise came and went in the space of 11 seasons and while the Titans will surpass that in 2018 in season No.12, the club's existence has, for the most part, been accompanied by an impending sense of doom.
Naysayers pointed to the Gold Coast's inability to deliver any kind of sustained success in national sporting competitions as a reason why the Titans would invariably fold, yet Brennan's rousing call to arms on Thursday suggested that the club could begin its ascension to becoming an NRL powerhouse in the first season of his three-year deal.
After monitoring his progress as a promising fullback for the powerful Wests Newcastle club during his tenure as Knights coach, Michael Hagan saw Brennan join the Knights coaching staff as an assistant for the Jersey Flegg team before having a hand in his appointment as head coach of the Knights' Harold Matthews under-16 team in 2007.
A decade later and Brennan has been handed the reins of a club that had to be rescued from financial difficulties by the NRL two years ago and whose future ownership is still being finalised. According to Hagan, any off-field instability needs to be resolved in order for the club to move forward.
"That really strong support from the CEO, chairman and footy manager, they have to be unified in that approach. And then the players have to be unified in what they do," Hagan told NRL.com.
"That's a challenge for every team but that's the thing on the Gold Coast – given that the ownership might change – they need a bit of stability.
"The great clubs bring someone in to coach the team and they put all the support in around them so that they are able to do just that."
While the likes of Kevin Walters and Michael Maguire may have been scared off by the uncertainty surrounding the club's new owners throughout the recruitment process, Brennan chose not to engage with the NRL or any of the prospective owners.
Creating an NRL powerhouse
The appeal for Brennan – beyond making a home for himself where he and his family have holidayed every October for the past 16 years – is to turn a rugby league nursery that is yet to bear fruit into a thriving production line of junior talent who never want to play anywhere else.
"I'm a development coach, that's what I consider myself to be," said Brennan, who helped to usher through a rich stable of exciting Penrith juniors from under-20s all the way up to the NRL that included the likes of Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright, Isaah Yeo and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
"That's where I get my enjoyment, seeing these young kids start out young, come through the systems and represent their home towns and club.
"It means more to the player when they make their debut for the town they grew up in.
"Gold Coast is a one-team, one-town situation which is similar to Newcastle.
"My job and my vision for the club is to future-proof the Gold Coast Titans. We're going to be a powerhouse every year.
"I want my fans, when they are buying tickets and putting their hand in their pocket, to feel that we're a chance to win the competition this year, not simply hope that we can make the semi-finals.
"I think the Titans can have success next year and with the structures that I know I can put in place that I can future-proof the Titans to be a threat beyond next year.
"My plan for the Gold Coast Titans is that it's not about one year or three years, it's about being a successful club in 10 years' time and a powerhouse of the NRL."
Full of admiration for the commitment Brennan has displayed in travelling between Newcastle and Penrith during his tenure at the Panthers for the past six years, Hagan believes the new Titans coach has the right character to handle the culture shock that comes with being an NRL coach.
"Things such as recruitment, the salary cap, the media and marketing, these are all parts of the head coaching role that he hasn't encountered yet so that's quite a steep learning curve," said Hagan, who will serve as Mal Meninga's assistant coach for the Kangaroos' upcoming World Cup campaign.
"You're never quite prepared for all those parts of the role.
"The demands of you with the media the way it is now and the pressure it puts you under is extreme but I think he's got the right sort of temperament and right demeanour for that.
"He's still a rookie when it comes to coaching first grade but he's certainly had a pretty good education in working with Ivan Cleary and Anthony Griffin and Phil Gould and he's been at a strong club with a lot of resources."