The Gold Coast Titans have parted ways with coach Garth Brennan, effective immediately.
The Titans, who sit at the bottom of the ladder after 17 rounds, will begin their search for a new coach, however, the club’s assistant coaches Luke Burt and Craig Hodges will take over for the rest of the season, starting with next Sunday's home clash with runaway competition leaders Melbourne.
Titans head of performance and culture, Mal Meninga was due to present his findings from an internal review at a board meeting on Monday morning, however, the Titans have acted on Sunday.
It is believed Queensland coach Kevin Walters and St Helens coach Justin Holbrook were the early frontrunners for the job vacated by Brennan’s departure, however Walters has already ruled himself out.
"I won't take an interview, I want to stay with Queensland," Walters told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I am really committed to Queensland and getting things right that we didn't quite get right this year. That's where my heart really lies. For me, you have to be really passionate about things and I am so passionate about Queensland. I want to get that right."
Gold Coast issued a statement with executive chairman Dennis Watt confirming Brennan's departure.
"No one at this organisation, or anyone involved in rugby league, wanted Garth’s time as head coach of the Titans to end this way,” Watt said.
"However, the results the club has achieved on the field this season have not met expectations, and the team’s performance in recent weeks has fallen to a level that is unacceptable to the board, our members, fans, sponsors and partners.
"Unfortunately, that has left the club in a situation where Garth remaining in the position of head coach has become untenable."
Watt paid tribute to Brennan for his service and commitment to the Titans, where he has been coach since the end of 2017.
"While the on-field results have not been what we hoped for, Garth will still leave a tremendous legacy for this club with his contribution to the creation of our development systems and pathways," Watt said.
"These will ensure the Titans’ future will be built around the best young players growing up on the Gold Coast and northern NSW.
"Along the way, Garth has handed NRL debuts to players like AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika and Jai Whitbread – players who will be at the core of this club for the years ahead.
"Garth, his wife Rachael and their family have made real sacrifices in moving to the Coast, and Garth has dedicated himself to connecting with Titans members, fans, local leagues and the wider community.
"Garth has been tireless in promoting the club and the game. He is a decent and genuine rugby league man, and everyone at this club wishes him and his family nothing but the best for the future."
In the post-match media conference following Gold Coast's disappointing loss to Penrith, Brennan was honest and realistic about the situation when asked after his side's 12th defeat of the season.
"There's a lot more important things in life than coaching rugby league that I look upon and I've lived it with 18 years in the [police force]," Brennan said.
"That's the way I look at it. Do I want to keep my job? Of course I do, but the sun will still come up tomorrow like Ash Barty said the other day, and I move on.
"It's out of my control. I don't speculate or read too much into it. That's for Mal and the board, they'll come up with what's best for the club.
"I love the club and want them to be successful, that won't change regardless of the outcome next week."