The rocky financial years are a thing of the past and the Gold Coast Titans can look forward to having a history like the foundation clubs in the Telstra Premiership.
That is the great hope that permeated Titans headquarters on Friday when NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg announced that new owners Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle would help secure the club’s long-term future.
The club was placed into administration in early 2015 due to financial difficulties, with the NRL assuming control.
“Those days are well behind us,” Titans CEO Graham Annesley told NRL.com after the new ownership announcement.
“Darryl and Rebecca both have successful and financially viable businesses in their own right.
“They know what they are taking on, they have been exposed to the club for many years and know everything about the club’s finances.
“The fact the NRL is now distributing all its revenue back to the clubs, and the game generally, means that the club is not far off financially sustainability anyway, hence the risk is reduced for owners.
“I am confident people who support rugby league – in particular our members, sponsors and corporate partners – don’t have to worry if the club will be here in 10 years.
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“We are playing against clubs with over 100 years of history and we ultimately want this club to have a similar history.”
Kelly and Frizelle, the former Titans chair, are both successful business people who have a long history with the Titans and the Gold Coast community.
Both were previous members of the board and Annesley said their new stewardship as owners was welcomed.
“It gives us the stability the community and club have been crying out for, and the long-term security of tenure,” Annesley said.
“The club is remaining in local ownership and it will keep the Gold Coast Titans here for the benefit of the community.
“Ultimately, the plan that Darryl and Rebecca has will see the community take back ownership of the club once they have it financially sustainable with its own revenue streams.”
Frizelle said those revenue streams were being planned behind the scenes and would be unveiled in due course.
She told NRL.com that the club would eventually be in community hands and would be around for as long as the game itself.
“The Titans should last as long as rugby is lasting and that should be at least another one hundred years,” she said.
“We are going to build it from strength to strength now. It has had a difficult last couple of years but we are laying the foundation to get it right.
“We have a strong board and an excellent executive chairman [Dennis Watt]. Now the club has the financial backing it needs to be successful.
“In 2006 we [the Frizelle Group] signed on as a corporate sponsor. Our family believed in this club from the start because it is essential to the fabric of the city. The Gold Coast community deserves a successful rugby league club.”
Annesley said the false starts for rugby league on the Gold Coast were now history.
“This is the best shot we have ever had, and the most sustainable,” he said.
He said the addition of Watt was a massive boost to the club on every level and said that new coach Garth Brennan was also well placed to make the most of the new ownership.
“Garth is a rookie coach in the NRL and he knows if he wants to have a long term NRL career he has got to have success here,” he said.
“But he is a very successful coach in his own right at other levels of the game. He is very enthusiastic and has a great relationship with the players who are enjoying the training methodology they have adopted this year.
“We have a really strong squad and plenty of money left in the cap and our budget. We are not going to waste it though. We are going to make sure we get the right people. With an ounce of luck … I expect us to be a far better performing team next year than we were in 2017.”