Gold Coast co-captain Greg Bird believes the Titans’ off-field turnaround will be reflected on the pitch in this year’s NRL season.
The Titans spent most of 2012 dealing with reports of financial problems and Bird admits speculation on the club’s future took its toll on the playing group.
But the NSW State of Origin representative says the arrival of a new ownership group as well as an upswing in the club’s financial situation has changed the mood ahead of the new campaign.
Speaking at the unveiling of a new sponsor on Wednesday, Bird said things couldn’t be more different ahead of Sunday’s season-opener against Cronulla than they were 12 months ago.
“Although it was said a million times last year that the playing group was focused on playing and not on too much else that was going on outside the game, it always was there in the back of your mind,” Bird told reporters.
“It’s great this year that that’s a thing of the past.
“We’re out there every week and really haven’t had a drama off the field so that’s been a great preparation for the season and everyone’s ready to go.”
Bird said the arrival of recruits such as Dave Taylor, Brad Takairangi and former Shark Albert Kelly had been a huge plus, despite former skipper Scott Prince’s controversial exit to join Brisbane.
“We’re definitely over the hill from the problems we’ve had in the past and we’re moving forward,” Bird said.
“Heaps of new players signed and new sponsors on board. It’s positive signs for the future.”
Club chief executive David May was also taking a positive spin at the news local company Illuminated Water had signed a deal to sponsor the back of the Titans’ jerseys in 2013.
May said the Titans were already ahead in their sponsorship than they were this time last year and more deals were in the pipeline.
“We’ve got every major position filled,” May said.
“We’ve got new sponsors at a level that means the club can move forward in a way that we couldn’t last year.”