Titans ready to exorcise demons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans ready to exorcise demons

By Laine Clark 14/03/2009 06:10:02 PM Comments (0)

The only "wild life" at the Gold Coast Titans' season launch were the inhabitants of the host venue, the Currumbin Sanctuary.

While Manly will be keen to finally squeeze in a bit of footy amid the never-ending controversy, the Gold Coast are also desperate to hit the field so they can make amends for their troubling past.

The only eyebrows raised at the Titans' March 6 launch at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary were by chairman Paul Broughton's claim that the club had been monitoring potential recruits in China over the last six years.

However, the Titans still need to exorcise demons in 2009.

In their first two NRL seasons the Titans have got off to great starts.

And in both seasons they were hit by injury, crashed spectacularly and missed out on the finals.

The 2008 season was a classic example - the frontrunners won just four of their last 15 games to finish with a 10-14 record for the second straight year.

Suffice to say coach John Cartwright is a little bit sick of the "when will you make the finals?" questions.

Privately he knows his men were all but robbed of finals action by injury in the past.

But on the record he isn't looking too far ahead of Sunday's season opener against Newcastle at Skilled Park.

"Every club who competes wants to play in the finals, we are no different," Cartwright said.

He did not have to be told how tough that challenge is, especially after witnessing Friday night's single-point wins to Brisbane and Melbourne.

"It just highlights how tight the competition is - they don't get any closer than that," he said.

The two thrillers took the attention off the Manly debacle - for a few hours at least.

"Hopefully last night would have put a lot of things at rest," Cartwright said.

While the Titans kept their noses clean at their launch, Gold Coast forward Anthony Laffranchi was still dragged into the Manly mess.

His past was dug up after Manly fullback Brett Stewart's four-game suspension.

Laffranchi was allowed to play on last season by the Titans after being charged with sexual assault.

He was found to have no case to answer.

"He's sick of the phone calls about it," a Titans source said of Laffranchi.

Even Titans co-skipper Scott Prince put in his two cents worth, saying a player curfew should be introduced.

"Nothing good seldom happens after 2am," Prince wrote in his Gold Coast Bulletin column.

But Cartwright didn't want to touch the issue on Saturday.

"I don't want to get involved in that. I am not sure what happened, so there's not much for me to talk about."

Cartwright said his "best 17" would run out against the Knights but was again wary of making any bold predictions.

The last two seasons have clearly taught him not to.

"You can't treat it as a grand final. It's the first game of a long, long season."

A season that may feel even longer if the Titans dip out on finals action yet again.

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