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Does anyone actually remember the Titans?

Everyone has a favorite rugby league team, but sadly very few people nominate the Gold Coast as theirs. In fact I’ve only ever met three such people. More about them later.

It’s a shame the Gold Coast aren’t more popular. They’ve had some of the game’s greatest players represent them over the years.

Some of the immortals who “retired” to the Gold Coast for the last few years of their career include Steve Jackson (iconic hero of the 1989 grand final), Chris ‘Choppy’ Close (iconic hero of the first State of Origin match) and the greatest player in the history of the game, Wally Lewis.

But for me one figure looms above others, the mighty Dave Taylor, a genuine legend of the game. For such a large man he was extremely mobile (for a short while early in his career). He is the only second rower in the history of the game to achieve the rare double of 15 tries and 15 chip-kicks in a season.

Dave Taylor is one of my all-time favorite players. I reckon he would have been a lot of fun to play backyard footy with. He never seemed to take the game too seriously, and watching David Fifita on a quiet day brings back wonderful memories of Taylor lurking out wide, confident in the knowledge the game would eventually drift his way.

I’ve only been to the Gold Coast once to watch the Titans play. I don’t recall seeing any statues outside the stadium and when I hear that people are pushing for Preston Campbell, I just hope Taylor’s claims don’t get overlooked.

The question is which Taylor pose should be immortalised? Some would suggest the classic hands-on-hips, but I’d go for the full-time finger in the air, as captured at the end of Origin 3 2012.

While we wait for his statue’s completion, I’d like to see the Gold Coast get more proactive and campaign for the return of the Wally Lewis statue.

Having this stand outside Suncorp Stadium is sending the wrong message, suggesting that the Gold Coast somehow isn’t the home of Queensland rugby league.

These days I’m a big fan of the Gold Coast, but our relationship didn’t get off to a great start. At the time their first coach Bob McCarthy did something to irritate me, and I was so annoyed I wrote a letter to Rugby League Week, which they were kind (foolish?) enough to publish.

This was in 1988 and sadly I’ve lost that edition. If anyone can locate my first ever piece of rugby league journalism and send me a copy, I’d be most grateful.

Speaking of RLW, back in 2012 they (Joel Gould) reported how Dave Taylor signing with the Gold Coast had them “daring to dream.” Legendary hardman and 1970 grand-final hero John Sattler was quoted as saying “I think Dave will be terrific for the Titans”. Sattler’s thoughts three years later are unfortunately not recorded.

Now back to my three friends who supported the Gold Coast. I was en route to the stadium, waiting at the mall for the free shuttle bus, when a car pulled up and offered me a lift to the footy. I hesitated but then thought, “if you can’t trust three long-haired youths in Titans jerseys, then who can you trust?”

After a few minutes driving they demanded $5 to cover petrol, a fee I was happy to pay for this chance to study local culture. It was quite an experience, especially when the car reverse-parked into an open drain.

I don’t remember who the Coast were playing, I just remember that they lost and the small crowd had very little to cheer about.

It’s hard to know exactly why they’ve had so little success over the years. I’m pretty certain though that constantly changing your name is not the best way to establish an identity.

The latest name Titans has never really appealed to me. I’d prefer something more Australian, something that evoked imagery of the Gold Coast, perhaps the Gold Coast Nuggets, or the Gold Coast Floaters.

As I’m sure you’ll recall from your studies of Greek mythology, the Titans were god-like creatures, fierce warriors, which could be a bit confusing for anyone watching the Gold Coast play for the first time. And of course Titan forms the unfortunate adjective “titanic”. This literally means like a Titan, echoing its meaning of “to sink without trace”.

Perhaps it’s time to celebrate the Greek heritage of the Gold Coast Titans. I suggest anyone who plays for the Titans be eligible for Greece at the next World Cup, and more importantly, vice versa.

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