Expansion is every NRL fan’s new favourite topic and everyone has an opinion, from the eternal chants to bring back the Bears to the calls growing louder and louder for a team based in Perth.
Most of these calls are nothing more than a bit of fun with some seeds of truth but one opinion that seems to be growing with each passing loss is that the Titans should be scrapped during this new development of the NRL.
These calls are not only stupid but betray a misunderstanding of what expansion needs to accomplish for the NRL: more fans and a deeper engagement with the NRL.
Lets take a look at the Titans.
They are situated in South-East Queensland – a growing area with the second largest population in Queensland. They are one of only three Queensland teams – despite Queensland being one of two states to fully embrace the 13-a-side code – and have strong juniors, a great stadium and rich owners.
The only thing currently stacked against the club is poor on-field success, with a semi-final in 2010 held as the club’s best result. However, as we have seen in Newcastle, a determined board and a decent coach focused on rebuilding can make mammoth changes in a short period of time.
The Titans have great people fully invested in the success of the club and are in nowhere near as dire a situation as the Knights were roster-wise during their run of wooden spoons.
Jai Arrow, Jarrod Wallace and Moeaki Fotuaika are great forwards supported by Ash Taylor who, on his day, can match it with anyone.
No, not all of their signings have panned out and the slew of high-profile failures including Jarryd Hayne, Leilani Latu and the two duds this year, Shannon Boyd and Tyrone Peachey, have not helped their case as a destination that players want to go to.
However, if signing promising players on big money was the sign of a club that needed to be relocated, then every team would have been moved at one stage in their operational lives.
Remember that the Titans are still relatively young as a club and many teams don’t taste success for years anyway. The Sharks took 50 years before they achieved ultimate glory. The NRL is a great competition because of how even it is and how quickly things can change when things come together.
The Titans have more going for them than most Sydney clubs and, with a good coach, they genuinely will be a threat in the future. The calls for their removal and movement are so utterly bizarre and should be treated as such.
Hopefully, for their fans, they live up to their name sooner rather than later.