James hopes sellout crowd is a sign of things to come
Titans captain Ryan James hopes sell-out crowds like the one that farewelled Johnathan Thurston on Saturday will become a regular occurrence on the Gold Coast.
Outside of finals, the 26,681 crowd at CBUS Super Stadium for the Cowboys 30-26 win was the largest at the venue since the round six clash with the Broncos in 2008.
The largest average crowds the Titans have had were in the initial season in their new stadium in 2008 with 21,168, and then in the successful semi-final years of 2009 and 2010 with 18,871 and 17,877 respectively.
Those teams boasted iconic Titans players such as Luke Bailey, Preston Campbell, Scott Prince, Mat Rogers, Anthony Laffranchi and Nathan Friend, but most importantly they were winners.
The Titans will look to build their future around leading forwards James, Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow, along with the spark provided by Ash Taylor and AJ Brimson.
James said it was "unbelievable" to run out in front of a packed house as he spoke about continuing the trend.
"It is great to have a big crowd. The closest I have seen to that are in Broncos games and when Haynesy [Jarryd Hayne] played his first game against New Zealand," James said.
"It is good to get people through the doors and hopefully next year, with the team we are building, we can get more bums on seats as well because I think we are getting a young and exciting squad together.
"I remember sitting in the crowds as a young kid watching the likes of Preston Campbell, Boofa [Laffranchi], Princey and Bails when we were at Carrara and then at the first game here at Cbus.
"It is great to have people in the stands and the club is building towards getting back towards what we used to have."
Titans coach Garth Brennan said that the season's performance was a pass mark for the Titans as far as building for the future was concerned, if not on result of a 14th-placed finish.
"If you were look at where we are headed as a club as a whole, with how hard we've competed, how close we are to getting some really tight victories throughout the year there are some real positive signs for this club," he said.
"As far as building a successful club for going forward I'd definitely give ourselves a pass."
Fullback Brimson showed once again on Saturday night that he is the man for a big occasion with a typically electrifying incision to score the Gold Coast's first try. It was his extraordinary courage which most impressed Brennan.
"AJ dislocated his shoulder in last week's game and wanted to play. The bruised hand he has got is actually a fracture in his hand but he said 'nothing is going to stop me from playing'. He is one tough kid," Brennan said.
"There is a lot of character in this football team."
To provide some context on Saturday night's attendance, round two of 2008, also against North Queensland, was reported as a sell-out with a crowd of 26, 974.
A crowd of 27,176 attended the round six clash with the Broncos that same year while 27,227 attended the qualifying semi-final in 2009.