Annesley Titans up operation

GRAHAM Annesley and Wayne Bennett were never the best of mates but there was mutual respect.

As an administrator and top-grade referee, Annesley was hard-nosed, just as Bennett was a mostly uncompromising coach when issues affecting his team were concerned.

But just a month into his new life as chief executive of the Gold Coast Titans, Annesley has adopted one of Bennett's great maxims: If you do what you always did, you get what you always got.

On Thursday the former NSW Minister for Sport, who conceded when he resigned in August that he was not a good politician, sacked seven of the Titans off-field staff.

Just a day earlier the new CEO had assured Titans fans their club was financially sound and that their commitments would be met.

Many consider Annesley a brave man. He threw away a reasonably secure and cushy job as a politician to move interstate to a club that as recently as March last year was investigated by the NRL with debts of $25million. At the time Annesley was chief operating officer of the NRL.

On that evidence we can speculate on two things; Annesley either liked what he saw back then or was so shocked by the poor administration that he jumped at the chance to take the reins.

Whatever the reason, he has climbed into a hotbed.

There is little doubt that the Titans have disappointed both on and off the field. But unlike the Giants, Seagulls and Chargers before them, they are still alive, despite some shoddy administration.

With impressive past rosters they have made the playoffs just twice in six seasons. They have six players involved in the World Cup which speaks volumes for their talent pool.

Those who know John Cartwright well have few doubts about his coaching ability, and his likeable demeanour. But he has been at the helm now for those six seasons and surely the end is nigh unless a premiership is delivered soon.

For Annesley to make such drastic changes after just four weeks may indicate that Cartwright might be too nice.

And with Cowboys coach Neil Henry now his assistant, big Carty has every reason to feeling the jitters.

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