What now for the Gold Coast Titans?
What now for the Gold Coast Titans?

Kent: How did Titans get it all so wrong?

Garth Brennan's disintegration as Gold Coast coach was so dramatic it was almost ceremonial.

It could not have been any more devastating for Brennan's youthful reputation if he had orchestrated it himself. He would be hard pressed getting a job coaching the Ourimbah under-9s at the moment.

What is it with coaching, that it does strange things to good people?

The knock on Brennan has been around the league all season. The greatest compliment was no compliment at all; that he was a terrific Q-Cup coach.

 

How did it come to this for Garth Brennan? Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
How did it come to this for Garth Brennan? Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

Brennan spent 15 years building his reputation as a future NRL coach and his strange behaviours saw it all unravel in less than two seasons. He appears destined to become one of those one job coaches, employed to do a job and unable to catapult into a second contract.

The Titans might be asking themselves where it went wrong? The scary question, the one they don't want to answer, is it might have been wrong all along.

When the Titans headed to Tamworth earlier this season Brennan still presented as being among the bright new era of NRL coaches, always prepared for a talk and with a usable quote.

At Tamworth Brennan recalled driving away from playing at Scully Park, considered something holy to the locals, when he was 15 years old thinking the surface was such "you could sleep on it".

He could have ran for mayor on that quote alone.

 

The writing has been on the wall for some time. Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The writing has been on the wall for some time. Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

But sleeping was the last thing on his mind in Tamworth, apparently.

The night before the Titans' game Brennan turned up at a team meeting looking very much like he couldn't find it in himself to walk past the Tamworth Services Club, to say nothing of the Tamworth Hotel or the Albert.

His authority over the team took a massive hit, something he doubled down on the next evening.

After the game, won 30-14 by Wests, Brennan was so dirty at the loss he banned his players from going out. It happens from time to time.

The following morning he learned several players had disobeyed orders and had a night among the bright lights of Tamworth.

He wanted a punishment but was overruled by Mal Meninga, the club's head of performance and culture. Meninga saw it as a double standard and refused him.

Such problems with his players is why Brennan was ultimately sacked.

 

Peachey‘s failure to settle on the Gold Coast has been symptomatic. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Peachey‘s failure to settle on the Gold Coast has been symptomatic. Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

He was not on speaking terms with Tyrone Peachey, who he had recruited from Penrith. The final gasp in their relationship was when Peachey was nursing a pectoral injury and was advised to stay on light duties.

Brennan got him training and Peachey aggravated the injury.

He had similar communication problems with halfback Ash Taylor.

As the Titans continued trending downward and before Taylor sought leave to deal with personal issues the halfback passed on a penalty kick with the score at 6-4, a sure sign of his diminished confidence.

Asked why later, Brennan hardly defended his star player.

"Ask Ash," he said.

It was another concern for Titans' management.

 

Ash Taylor was supposed to represent the club’s future. Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Ash Taylor was supposed to represent the club’s future. Image: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

Part of Brennan's sell to the Titans was his "special relationship" with Taylor. Taylor and five-eighth Tyrone Roberts are close.

Part of the reason behind Neil Henry's downfall at the Titans before Brennan was that Taylor wanted Roberts as his halves partner but Henry was not taken with it. Ultimately the Titans saw it Taylor's way and it became part of the reason for Henry's sacking.

Brennan is married to Roberts' sister. This relationship helped form a bond with Taylor he hope would unleash the rare talents of Taylor.

 

Mal Meninga‘s role in the decision appears unclear. Image: Glenn Hampson
Mal Meninga‘s role in the decision appears unclear. Image: Glenn Hampson

 

The Titans were wondering how a coach, just two seasons in, could so spectacularly fall out of favour with his players.

It was a big reason behind the performance and culture review Meninga was ordered to undertake, which got delivered on Monday.

But all it did again was highlight the club's dysfunction.

Brennan has claimed Meninga did not speak to him. Meninga claimed the review did not recommend Brennan be sacked.

Yet Brennan, apparently, knew he was gone.

Coaching staff saw him clearing his desk last Thursday, the day before they headed to Penrith and lost 24-2.

"It hardly inspires confidence," said one club source.

 

 

Already the Titans have received "half a dozen" expression of interest from out of work coaches or their managers. Given an interview process was undertaken in 2017, spitting out Brennan as the best qualified, how can the Titans be confident the process was right?

The smartest play out of it all might have come from Queensland coach Kevin Walters, who quickly removed himself from the coaching carousel even though he is believed to be privately still interested.

It keeps Walters out of the endless speculation and where only a smart play from the Titans, to approach Walters anyway, would make the appointment.

It could be the first smart move made on the Gold Coast in some time.

News Corp Australia


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