In 2007 the NRL welcomes their 16th member club when the Gold Coast Titans (formerly Giants, Seagulls, Chargers and for a short time ? Dolphins) join the competition. Armed with a completely vacant roster and an uncompromised Salary Cap, the Titans have been extremely aggressive in building a side that can compete from day one. Coach John Cartwright and the Gold Coast management deserve a lot of credit for luring some very good players to the club. In doing so they have transferred a lot of pressure onto their own shoulders for the next two seasons as the playing roster is a lot stronger than say South Sydney had in 2002.
Make no mistake with the talent at the club already, this new Gold Coast side should be competitive and although one would wisely stop before labeling them genuine Finals contenders, they will certainly be amongst the media?s pre-season darlings in 2007.
They have class in two key positions with international prop Luke Bailey and at halfback with 2005 Clive Churchill Medalist Scott Prince, while the supporting cast features quality players like winger Brian Carney, five-eighth Preston Campbell and back rowers Anthony Laffranchi and Bradley Meyers.
The addition of Cronulla prop James Stosic fills the roster with their 22nd player with NRL (or ESL) experience and to round out the depth at the club they will draw heavily on their Queensland Cup affiliates ? the Burleigh Bears, Tweed Heads Seagulls and Ipswich Jets.
Gold Coast Titans Depth Chart 2007
Backrowers: Anthony Laffranchi (Wests Tigers), Bradley Meyers (Bradford), Michael Hodgson (Canberra), Mark Minichiello (South Sydney), Gavin Cooper (North Queensland), Luke Swain (Penrith), Luke O'Dwyer (Parramatta).
Hookers: Nathan Friend (Melbourne), Clint Amos (North Queensland).
Halves: Scott Prince (Wests Tigers), Preston Campbell (Penrith).
Three-quarters: Brian Carney (Newcastle), Jake Webster (Melbourne), Brett Delaney (Parramatta), Matt Petersen (Parramatta), Josh Graham (Western Force, rugby union).
Fullbacks: Steve Turner (Melbourne), Richie Mathers (Leeds).
With technically three more spots in their Top 25 to be filled, another half/five-eighth, a three quarter and a prop look to be on the shopping list. A young backup playmaker certainly looks imperative as injury to either Prince or Campbell would be catastrophic for the team.
With that squad in mind here is the best 17 the Titans can put on the park next season.
GOLD COAST TITANS 2007
1. Steve Turner 2. Brian Carney 3. Richie Mathers 4. Jake Webster 5. Brett Delaney 6. Preson Campbell 7. Scott Prince 8. Luke Bailey 9. Nathan Friend 10. James Stosic 11. Michael Hodgson 12. Bradley Meyers 13. Anthony Laffranchi