Titans bring league home
By MELISSA LEWIS
AMID a flurry of camera flashes and microphone jabs, the Gold Coast Titans were yesterday introduced to the media at Royal Pines Resort.
The team, led by a giant Titans mascot, spent the afternoon signing shirts and footballs, trying on uniforms and boots, and waited patiently to be fitted with suits.
Titans managing director Michael Searle said the formation of the club had taken six years of hard work, and stressed they were not going to throw it all away.
"We have issues in our game that can cloud our path, but we want to make sure the community knows what we are all about," he said.
With a majority of the team hailing from the local area, it seems the Titans are all about "bringing it home", with the players happy to be catching up with relatives.
Former Murwillumbah Colt, Anthony Laffranchi is excited to be playing in front of his home crowd again.
"It's sensational to be able to come home and to play NRL locally. It really is a buzz" he said.
"It's something I've dreamed of and I'm very grateful and honoured to be able to do so."
Laffrachi spent all his junior years with the Colts and still has fond memories of that time.
"When you're that age it's all about making good friends, enjoyment and having your family there," he said.
"That is one of the good things about coming back and playing (for the Titans), having your family and friends come and watch you. It's something very special and I'm looking forward to it."
Laffrachi has played more than 102 first-class games, and Titans coach John Cartwright is expecting him to lead by example.
"When guys of his ability are happy in their home environment, then I expect that he will be one of the leading players in the club," he said.
While Laffranchi is fighting fit for 2007, that can't be said for a few of his other teammates, with six Titans recovering from surgery.
Jake Webster has just had shoulder and wrist surgery, while Nathan Friend is also nursing a shoulder injury. Brett Delaney is recovering from knee surgery, with both James Stosic and Preston Campbell working hard to strengthen their injured ankles.
"(Brian) Carney only has a minor hamstring strain, but we don't expect him to be getting to the Coast until after Christmas," said Cartwright.
The Titans will play their first season at Carrara but will move across town to Skill Stadium in time for the 2008 kick-off.
The new $160 million stadium complex sits 25,000 people.