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Gold Coast Titans - 3rd & Semi Finalists
Reasons: Best Friend: When word broke that the Titans were interested in the services of Robbie Farah all eyes turned to Gold Coast hooker, Nathan Friend who must have felt like the odd man out. However as the potential relationship between the Titans and Farah soured, Friend played the house down consistently, going on to claim the Paul Broughton medal for player of the Year. Flash Gordon: Lightning quick and full of confidence, youngster Kevin Gordon proved to be a revelation for the Titans on the wing, scoring 13 tries in just 23 matches. He was joined by rookies David Mead and Esi Tonga in helping bolster the Titans backline. Titanic Fortress: Skilled Park proved to be a nightmare for opposition sides as the Gold Coast recorded an impressive 11-1 win-loss ratio during the regular season. Conversely, the Titans away record also improved resulting in a 5 wins and 7 losses.
Gains: Joseph Tomane (Wing/Centre) Melbourne Storm Marshall Chalk (Utility) Celtic Crusaders Riley Brown (Hooker) Sydney Roosters Losses: Smith Samau (Fullback/Wing) Sydney Roosters (Mid-Season) Ian Donnelly (Prop) Cronulla Sharks (Mid-Season) Brett Delaney (Centre) Released Chris Walker (Wing) Released Brenton Bowen (Wing) Northern Pride Daniel Conn (Backrow) Sydney Roosters Siosaia Vave (Prop) Cronulla Sharks Ben Jeffrey (Wing) Retirement
Best Win of the Year: Heading down to Melbourne is a difficult journey for any club, let alone a Prince-less Titans outfit fielding a makeshift halves pairing of Mat Rogers and Preston Campbell. Yet, the Titans never seemed phase running out comfortable winners 18-6. The victory could be contributed to the simple yet effective game plan devised by coach Cartwright who chose to leave the Gold Coast theatrics at home, leaving the Titans to play patient percentage football which ultimately came up trumps. Worst Loss of the Year: On a miserable Monday evening the Gold Coast were humbled by a struggling Panthers outfit who made the Titans pay for their complacency. While the addition of Newcastle reject Luke Walsh helped steel the Panthers as a unit, the Titans were poor coughing up far too much possession and showing little intensity in defence. The Panthers finished 34-20 victors.
Statistics: Nathan Friend finished with more touches than any other player with an incredible 2,950 for the year. This was the most successful season for any Gold Coast franchise in the NRL, their third placing at the end of the regular season outstripping any previous Titans, Chargers, Seagulls or Giants side. Kevin Gordon