Titans rated long shots
By ADAM WRATTEN
THE Gold Coast Titans have signed a host of big-name players but they are rated longshots to win the NRL premiership in their debut season.
Centrebet spokesperson Gerrard Daffy yesterday said the Titans would at best be around the 33-1 mark to claim the premiership in 2007.
While a market won't be framed on the 2007 competition until this time next year, Daffy said the club, which has already signed Australian representative Luke Bailey and Great Britain winger Brian Carney, could expect to be among the outsiders.
"We won't be putting our odds out until the end of next season, but, I would think it would be big double figures, about 33-1," Daffy said.
"That's to win the premiership."
Titans head coach John Cartwright said he expected the team to be competitive from the start.
"I'd have a piece of that," Cartwright said yesterday referring to the odds.
"To be honest that would be a very flattering price ... especially considering we are still building the team."
Daffy yesterday said player recruitment between now and 2007 would be the key factor in determining a price.
"Obviously the players they bring in between now and when they start is the key," he said.
"They can't win it unless they have got the players."
"It's taken Wests five years to get to where they are and even St George-Illawarra have taken time to hit their straps,"Daffy said.
"But it will be dependant on who they sign."
One player who knows all about defying the odds is Titans recruit and Wests Tigers' grand final hero Anthony Laffranchi (who marries his fiance Peita-Lee in Sydney today).
Laffranchi, who signed with the Titans before helping the Tigers to an improbable premiership victory, said he wasn't one who cared much for odds.
"They don't make that much difference (when you get out there)," Laffranchi said.
"It comes down to which ever team turns up on any given day.
"I'm very confident in the Titans and who they have signed so far and the coaching staff they have got in place."
He admitted while he was not a gambler he wished he had put "his house" on the Wests Tigers when they reached odds of 150-1 during the season.
"I have always thought the best bet is to keep your money in your pocket, but I wished I had put my house on that," Laffranchi said.
No team has won a premiership on their season debut, although Melbourne won in their second year in 1999.
They came third in their debut year.
Brisbane prop Shane Webcke has joined champion halfback Allan Langer and current captain Darren Lockyer as only the third dual winner of the club's prestigious Player of the Year award.
Webcke, who stepped down from representative football this season to give the Broncos his best, also won the Paul Morgan medal in 2001.
Langer was the inaugural winner in 1988 before owning the award between 1993-96.
Lockyer took the top individual prize in 2002 and 2003.
Webcke polled 40 points to beat fellow front-rower Petero Civoniceva (30 points) with Lockyer third on 29 points.