Titans facilities in league of their own
By ADAM WRATTEN
THE Gold Coast Titans will train out of state-of-the-art facilities which will be the envy of every other NRL club, managing director Michael Searle said yesterday.
The club starts its tender process next Friday to develop a multi-million dollar training compound, which should be completed in time for the players' first pre-season in 56 weeks' time.
In what is believed to be an Australian first, the blueprint for the facility is based on those used by the big-business American NFL clubs, such as the Miami Dolphins.
Four expressions of interest have all ready been lodged, with both Griffith and Bond universities among those keen to house such a facility.
Searle yesterday said the plan was to build a permanent base for the club, with fields, a gym, lecture room, eating hall, locker rooms and areas to house a full-time medical staff and physio all part of the compound.
Grandstands will cater for about 3000 people for those training sessions open to the public.
"The NFL model is something we picked up on an exchange program in America, at New York and Miami," Searle said.
"Their (training compounds) are usually based at educational facilities ... and are a permanent home for the football team."
Searle said the cost would be determined by the chosen application.
"We will run a transparent program," he said.
"We will deal at the end of the day with the best application.
"We have received four expressions of interest from facilities on the Coast at the moment, but it would be inappropriate to name them all as some are privately owned."
He said the two universities, Griffith based at the northern end of the Coast and Bond at Robina/Varsity Lakes, were both keen.
"There is a massive amount of branding for the universities ... housing an elite sports team there," Searle said.
"Both also have medical science degrees which is a benefit."
He said the tender process would start next Friday and was expected to run for 30 days.
"We are very keen to have a facility ready for October 1, 2006, which is 52 weeks away," Searle said.
"It's only 56 weeks before we have our first-grade squad assembled."
The Gold Coast was granted the NRL's 16th licence about four months ago and will compete in the national competition from 2007.
Last week the club unveiled its new name - the Titans and its new moniker - at a special function at Robina, which is where a new stadium will be built for the 2008 season.
The Titans will play at Carrara Stadium in 2007.
So far the Titans have signed seven players: Penrith playmaker Preston Campbell, St George prop Luke Bailey, Melbourne hooker Nathan Friend, Parramatta duo Matt Petersen and Luke O'Dwyer, Wests Tigers' former Murwillumbah junior Anthony Laffranchi and Great Britain winger Brian Carney.