V for Vic Arious

The Gold Coast Titans' fifth season in the top flight was always going to be an interesting one. After a 2010 that began with whispers of salary cap breaches and ended with a trip to the last weekend in September the club could be forgiven for just hoping that 2011 was a bit less, well,  tumultuous. One could argue that at least this goal has been achieved, with the Titans being summarily ignored by the majority of the competition and its media outside the first few weeks of the NRL season.

So what's happened to the Coast in 2011? Has the ghost of Captain Charger and Franchises Past returned to haunt rugby league's shiny new toy as if to fulfill some ancient voodoo curse? Well... not quite. From an outsiders perspective it just seems like the Titans season never really got started. The NRL scheduled the Titans some hard road trips as well as some blockbuster games at Skilled Park in the early rounds of the season to get a leg up on the incoming AFL Suns, however the downside of this was that these were mostly against gun sides leaving the Titans struggling for a win in the early rounds. Couple this with a new halves pairing as well as the absence of the talented tackling machine Nathan Friend around the ruck and the Coast bandwagon never rolled out of the Centre of Excellence car Park.

The end result of the Titans spluttering campaign has been a great deal of pain for the greater Gold Coast, a city that has had little to cheer about recently with sharp downturns post GFC in both the tourism and housing industries leaving a large impact on the coast with the most. The formation of the Titans and the success they had achieved prior to 2011 had helped the Gold Coast shed its loser tag and prove that it had more to offer the sporting world than Burleigh Breakers and Indy Car carnage.

Success did not go unnoticed by other sporting codes however, and despite their similar on-field failings this year the AFL's Suns have been able to ride on the back of a wave of honeymoon optimism and local media generosity thanks in some part to the Titans prior groundwork. This has been exacerbated by the fact that former Gold Coast Bulletin former pin up boy Michael Searle has been largely tied up with the formation of the game's independent commission this year, leaving the Titans missing their media face almost as much as they've missed a quality centre.

But what of the future, will this be the Titans one off Annus Horribilis or has the tide quickly turned on the former golden boys? Whilst a wooden spoon appears unavoidable this year some aggressive recruitment, a more settled player roster and a focused front office will hopefully see 2011 tossed aside like John Cartwright's dodgy appendix...and once again give the other NRL teams a reason to remember the Titans.