How far did the Titans’ global search go?
How far did the Titans’ global search go?

Kent: Do the Titans know what they’re doing?

In this week's edition of Mal On Monday, the Gold Coast Titans' weekly column with the club's head of performance and culture, Mal Meninga, we learned the search for a new coach at the Titans has been "exhaustive - and exhausting".

Sounds like the great man needs a Bex and a lie down.

There is no game in the world that sells the world and delivers, as they say, an atlas, quite like rugby league.

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What was Meninga‘s role in the “global search”? Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
What was Meninga‘s role in the “global search”? Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

Let's remember, this is the game where then-ARL Commission chairman John Grant announced the game would undergo a "global search", to quote him, to find a replacement chief executive for the outgoing Dave Smith.

After many months and a whole stack of money to the recruitment firm running the global search they finished on Todd Greenberg, found 20m down the hall.

Who'd have known?

The Titans have similarly scoured the world for a replacement coach.

Chief executive Steve Mitchell said as much on Tuesday, saying, "Applications have come in globally" as the Titans narrowed their search, which was being reported would be Justin Holbrook.

 

Anthony Griffin got nowhere near the Titans. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Anthony Griffin got nowhere near the Titans. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

 

Few could guess just how narrow the search became, though.

Anthony Griffin is a first class coach and one of the best development coaches in rugby league.

Yet despite being mentioned as a contender Griffin did not get even an interview.

The Walker brothers, Shane and Ben, have revolutionised football at Ipswich and showed they can take a team with a fraction of the resources their rivals have and still win a premiership.

Yet they also failed to make an interview.

Craig Fitzgibbon drives the Roosters defence, so well Brad Fittler brought him in to help the Blues this year. Many good judges have him as next most likely.

But no interview.

No interview for Jason Demetriou or Adam O'Brien or Trent Barrett or Geoff Toovey or even, apparently, Kevin Walters.

 

Was it Walters or the Titans who didn’t want it to happen? Photo: Adam Head
Was it Walters or the Titans who didn’t want it to happen? Photo: Adam Head

 

Instead, it went around Monday that Justin Holbrook had won the job and the Titans were going to announce him on Wednesday.

It puts a question on the Titans' exhaustive process, a question that takes particular weight when, in the words of Titans chairman Dennis Watt, that "This is the last stand, we have to get it right" for the club.

The Titans' exhaustive search for a coach, a global one, basically went to England's north.

With so much at stake why did the search, ultimately, centre on only one man?

It is the heart of the problem at the Titans.

Do they know what they are doing?

 

Justin Holbrook appears to have been the only real target. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images
Justin Holbrook appears to have been the only real target. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

 

They announce plans for an exhaustive search and the search reaches as far as … one man.

And there is nothing wrong with identifying your man and going after him, but then why announce plans for an "exhaustive" search if there is no search?

Some coaches contacted the club and were promised interviews and began preparing their presentations.

By Tuesday Mitchell was denying a decision was made to appoint Holbrook.

At the same time it spread late Monday that Walters had come in as a late chance to get the job.

What had happened?

Naturally, conspiracy theories spread through the game.

 

Titans CEO Steve Mitchell can’t yet confirm Holbrook’s appointment. Photo: Jerad Williams
Titans CEO Steve Mitchell can’t yet confirm Holbrook’s appointment. Photo: Jerad Williams

 

The most likely reasons were that Canterbury, whose chief executive Andrew Hill "accidentally" ran into Holbrook recently in England, had trumped the Titans and offered Holbrook the job when Dean Pay's contract ends, or slightly before.

The other option is what actually is happening, that Holbrook's current club St Helens - who on Saturday qualified for the Challenge Cup final - need time to announce Holbrook is leaving.

So the announcement is due.

Mitchell was asked the two things he was looking for in a coach and was rapid fire with his answer.

"Leadership and culture," he said.

Whoa.

Meninga, the head of performance and culture, better look out. Sounds dangerously close to his own job description.

News Corp Australia