Titans lessons raise concerns for Dolphins

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The man behind the NRL's expansion into the Gold Coast has warned the Dolphins their early years will be bleak if they can't coax someone of Cameron Munster's quality to Redcliffe.

The Dolphins' failure to make a splash in the player market was accentuated last week by Kalyn Ponga's decision to stay at Newcastle, leaving the NRL's 17th club increasingly unlikely to capture a big fish.

Since their 2023 entry into the competition was rubber-stamped last October, Wayne Bennett's only established signings are Kenny Bromwich, Jesse Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi, Jamayne Isaako, Ray Stone, Mark Nicholls and Tom Gilbert.

The Dolphins have increasingly been used as leverage by player managers as the likes of Brandon Smith, Reed Mahoney and now Ponga have slipped through their grasp.

It's already threatening to be a point of concern, according to Gold Coast's inaugural football manager Scott Sattler.

"Missing Ponga is a big one," he told AAP.

"Munster is not even in the discussion at the moment because he's on contract for 2023 and the Dolphins have already taken three of Melbourne's players."

Sattler knows a thing or two about start-up clubs.

His father, John, was part of the consortium that entered the Gold Coast Giants into the competition in 1988 at four months' notice.

Sattler played for the South Queensland Crushers between 1995 and 1996 before being part of the Titans' set up for their entry back in 2007.

"I reckon they could be a big chance of signing Reece Walsh from the Warriors because he engages a young fan base," he said.

"The signings they've made will set the values that will continue through the club.

"They are astute moves by Wayne (Bennett) but you do need that big fish that sends a message to members that you're a chance of winning most weekends."

Sattler said the biggest thing working against the Dolphins was their lack of lead-in time.

From the day the Titans were granted their licence in May 2005, they had a hit-list that led to the signings of Preston Campbell, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey and Mat Rogers from rugby union before their debut game in 2007.

Digby Ioane was another they got close to adding, and the Titans were so ambitious they attempted to sign Jonah Lomu as a bench forward -- only for the latter's wife, who doubled as his agent, to demand they pay the All Blacks great "phonebook numbers" and ask for a share of gate takings.

"We had a long run-in from May 27, 2005 which I remember because it was the same day Schapelle Corby was found guilty in Bali," Sattler said.

"I think watching the Giants in '87, it forced us to take a different angle in recruitment.

"We did everything backwards, which meant that we were talking to clubs about players they couldn't keep beyond their existing contracts and getting players to sign letters of intent way before we had been granted a licence.

"You've got to sell the club before you get the licence.

"It's arrogant, I know, but I've seen it work."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting