Gold Coast can surprise all the way to top four
Former Gold Coast Titans star Chris Walker has predicted the Garth Brennan-coached side will finish in the top four.
Plenty of pundits have tipped the Titans to win nothing but the wooden spoon, but Walker is not having a bar of that.
It is a brave call from Walker who was advocating strongly for his brothers Ben and Shane to get the Gold Coast gig when the coaching job was up for grabs last year.
The former Queensland Maroons flyer said he based his prediction on the roster Brennan had assembled, the young forwards set to keep the heat on established stars, the appointment of Hayden Knowles as head of performance and the new vibe permeating through the club. The Titans kicked off their season last Sunday with a rousing 30-28 comeback win over the Canberra Raiders.
"The Titans will definitely make the top eight and I am backing them to make the top four for the first time since 2010 if they keep their roster on the field," Walker told NRL.com.
"They will definitely prove a lot of the so-called experts wrong.
"It sounds like a big call, but the Titans are a happy bunch with genuine harmony under Garth Brennan, which is different to what we have seen in previous years."
Walker said the Titans pack had a representative flavour, aggression and plenty of improvement left in it.
"Jarrod Wallace had a breakout season last year," Walker said.
"He moved from the Broncos to the Titans to get out of the shadow of players like Sam Thaiday and he will move even further out of that shadow this year.
"I don’t think they have tapped into half the potential that Ryan James has got. He needs to realise that he is the size of Gorden Tallis and as soon as he gets Gorden’s anger issues, I am sure Brennan will bring the best out in him."
Walker said Brennan had made a statement with his recruitment drive by bringing players he had previously worked alongside at the Penrith Panthers.
"Bryce Cartwight and Leilani Latu had been mentored by Garth at the Panthers and they will love playing for him," Walker said.
"Bryce is like Ryan James. Once he realises he is big, strong and has all the ability in the world then we will see the best of him.
"I think he got stale at Penrith, so this change will be good for him."