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Dramatic scenes as cashed-up Titans begin search for new leading man

If the Logies had only been held on the Gold Coast two weeks later Dennis Watt could have been a last-minute nominee as Best Supporting Actor in a dramatic role.

The Titans chairman revealed it was his decision to end the tenure of coach Garth Brennan on the weekend and then declared the appointment of the next coach would determine whether the club could survive into the future at all.

Bailed out once by the NRL and now looking for a fourth coach in the space of five years, Gold Coast's reputation as a place where rugby league franchises never take root now rests on what the board does next.

"We're in no doubt that this is it. This is the last stand. We have to get it right," Watt said when asked of the club's precarious long-term position.

"There are plenty of other people banging on the door who would probably like to launch teams elsewhere."

It was the ultimate media conference sign-off, the end-of-season cliffhanger that demands investigation as to when the next episode will be uploaded to Netflix.

But as dramatic as Watt's statement may have seemed at the end of a 15-minute media conference, he's right.

Former Titans coach Garth Brennan.
Former Titans coach Garth Brennan. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

This is it, perhaps not only for the Titans but for the Gold Coast as a professional sporting city.

If the owners of the club, the Kelly and Frizelle families, are forced to pay out under-performing players and a coach left with his head above the turret one more time, who is to say they don't cash in whatever chips they have left and sign the licence over to someone with a different destination in mind.

The Glitter Strip is an easy place to drop a lot of coin and it's unlikely the city could unveil another group of owners as benevolent as the Kellys and Frizelles.

The appointment of the next head coach will be the ultimate in rugby league casting in order to deliver a competitive team that is entrenched within its community, and Watt knows it.

"I think it's critical, I really do," said the former Broncos chairman.

"At the end of the day appointing the coach is probably the most important decision you're going to make.

"Clearly we're looking for a strong leader with a track record of success who is going to have high personal standards and uphold standards throughout the organisation."

And therein lies the kicker.

As social media abounds with suggestions spanning the gamut of coaching contenders the Titans are for once in a position to enquire as to the availability those already in gainful employment.

Watt seemed genuinely excited by the number of candidates who have stepped forward in less than 24 hours to express interest but given the gravitas of the situation they may be better served looking beyond those so eagerly seeking an audition.

Gold Coast Titans fans haven't had much to cheer about in recent seasons.
Gold Coast Titans fans haven't had much to cheer about in recent seasons. ©NRL Photos

When Brennan was unveiled as coach in October 2017 the club's new ownership structure had yet to be formally processed so any appointment – and spending – required NRL approval.

That is no longer the case and Watt indicated this time – perhaps for the last time – they will be able to target the best coach that money can buy.

"Whatever we need to do to ensure we've got the best-qualified candidate, that's what we'll do," Watt said with a sign of intent that the Titans have lacked in recent years.

"We do need more NRL experience in the make-up of the club. It's that knowledge and ability to withstand extraordinary pressure.

"Ours is a highly pressurised game with most of the focus on the coaches. Garth certainly felt that pressure.

"There's something to be said for having people alongside you that have been through those hard times and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"It is the most important decision we're going to make in terms of the coach who is going to take us forward and develop this playing group. Set this club up as a place that people aspire to go to."

A leading man capable of ensuring the franchise doesn't end up on the cutting-room floor for good.

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