NAME CHANGE: North Sydney Bears forward Billy Moore is tackled by Parramatta Eels players Jason Smith during a NRL Final Series in 1998. Moore wants to see the Bears move to the Gold Coast and takeover the Titans.
NAME CHANGE: North Sydney Bears forward Billy Moore is tackled by Parramatta Eels players Jason Smith during a NRL Final Series in 1998. Moore wants to see the Bears move to the Gold Coast and takeover the Titans. Adam Pretty

Can't bear the Titans being rebranded again

IN a manly kind of way, I love Billy Moore. I love his passion for life, his passion for Queensland and his passion for the North Sydney Bears.

But as much as I respect Billy and admire his zest for the game, I'm not keen on the idea of his beloved Bears being relocated to the Gold Coast. Not in name, anyway.

Starting out in 1988 as the Giants when the Broncos and the Knights also joined the expanded competition, the Gold Coast-based NRL team has been virtually nomadic in the intervening three decades. Since their birth they have had six different owners, five names, and have even moved interstate.

Surely, enough is enough.

From the Giants they became the Seagulls, then the Gladiators, and in 1996 the Chargers were born. Another new name, new owners and new colours were introduced a decade ago when the Titans were invited to join the NRL premiership.

But between 1998 and 2007, no Gold Coast NRL team existed. And there would not be a club on the glitter strip now had the NRL not taken control of that financially-strapped franchise at the start of the 2015 season.

 

Titans hooker Nathan Peats fires off a pass during the Gold Coast club's game agains the Cronulla Sharks.
Titans hooker Nathan Peats fires off a pass during the Gold Coast club's game agains the Cronulla Sharks. DAVE HUNT

So where does the process start? And what boundaries would the NRL evoke?

Obviously, first and foremost, the new franchise must be financially secure, and that is an area where the Bears are apparently very sound. They are purported to be offering $7 million, and have many million in reserves, but Bears CEO Greg Florimo says no figure has been offered.

Florimo is excited about what the Bears would bring to the table - a heritage brand and heritage colours.

But while the offer looks particularly solid and resurrecting the Bears, a foundation club from 1908 which was lost to the game following the Super League war of the late 90s, would be great nostalgia, another change of name and colours would surely further alienate the weary Titans supporters.

Rugby league is not the only sport that has bitten the dust on the Gold Coast. National franchises in AFL, basketball and baseball have also come and gone in the same period.

One of the reasons trotted out for the never-ending collapse of national sporting clubs based on the Gold Coast is that the place has no soul. It is big, bold and brassy, but a mostly itinerant population does not become passionately involved.

So if not the Bears, then who takes control of the Titans?

The favourite appears to be a consortium of local Gold Coast business identities, led by current board members Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle. And with their business connections on the Gold Coast, and their passion for the Titans brand, that would seem the way to go.

Sorry Billy, but if the Bears insist on a name and colours change, they should be the last resort.

News Corp Australia


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