He didn’t get the send-off that he nor Titans fans had hoped for, however Foundation Gold Coast Titans Captain Scott Prince still has very fond memories of the club’s last finals appearance.
Arriving on the Gold Coast alongside premiership winning West Tigers team mate Anthony Laffranchi at the end of the 2006 season, Prince was instrumental in setting the demanding team and individual standards which resulted in the leagues newcomers over-achieving on field during their inaugural season and quickly gaining a strong reputation across all codes for their community work.
Having tasted finals in 2009, the Titans 2010 team once again performed strongly, going within a whisker of the codes biggest dance when arrived at Suncorp Stadium to take on the Sydney Roosters in a preliminary final.
The Titans received a week off after defeating the New Zealand Warriors 28-16 in front of a delirious home crowd at Skilled Park (now CBUS Super Stadium)
Despite the extended break, Prince endured an around the clock battle to ensure he was ready to take face the Roosters.
“The first game of the series at home was a massive encounter against an inform Warriors outfit in a bruising encounter.”
“I had picked up a shoulder injury the previous week against the West Tigers which I had needled before the Warriors game, not that it really made a difference with big Manu Vatuvei seemingly able to single me out every time he looked up with the ball in hand.”
“Not many people would be aware of this, but during the match I actually started to lose feeling in my arm which besides being a little scary, started to affect my passing ability. I can still remember Chalky (Luke O’Dwyer) looking at me with this scary look after I pitched a few watermelons at him during the warm up.”
It had been a relatively good season for the Titans, finishing in fourth position, a rung below their 2009 efforts.
Scott saying there had been more than a few personal and club distractions in the months leading into the finals campaign that the playing squad had handled very well.
“We were on a roll, winning games that no one had given us a chance of winning, every player in the squad was committed to doing their job for the team and the feeling around the place was unbelievable.”
“Fortunately we had been able to remove ourselves from a number of significant distractions including the salary cap debacle and my “FREE HOUSE”.
In dispatching the Warriors, the Titans had emerged as a genuine threat for the 2010 final and it seemed everyone on the Gold Coast was behind their team.
The #TitansTown tag was created and it seemed most houses and many of the cities businesses proudly displayed the club’s distinct colours in the lead up to the Roosters match.
“There was an awesome buzz, we knew the Gold Coast was right behind us, but we probably didn’t realise to what extent, it was great and I know the boys really enjoyed it, as I expect the 2016 team are enjoying similar support this year.”
Speaking of this year’s competition, Prince says he is the first to admit Neil Henry’s charges have been the biggest surprise packets of the NRL Premiership.
“It’s been fantastic, they have for much of the season flown under the radar with many, including myself, not expecting them to be involved at this stage of the season, but the players have been incredible, they have played and fought for each other and I really think that Neil Henry and his coaching staff need to be commended for their wonderful work.
Now involved with Brisbane in a number of on and off field off field roles after finishing his outstanding career wearing the Broncos colours, Prince perhaps knows better than most what the Titans will face when they run out onto Suncorp Stadium tonight.
“There is no doubting this is another enormous test for the Titans, they are up against last year’s grand finalists and a team who I believe have really started to show some ominous form during the last month of the competition.”
“There is certainly added motivation for the team to send their inspirational Captain Corey Parker out a winner, but in saying that, the Broncos have never been a side that’s needed anything to get them up for a big game!”
Interviewed on Sea FM this morning, Prince said his head was saying the Broncos should prevail in a tight contest, but he certainly wasn’t prepared to write the Gold Coasters off.
“They have proved me wrong time and time again this season the Titans and they are certainly a dangerous team heading into tonight’s knock out final.”
“To win the Titans need all 17 players to contribute to the best of their ability for the full eighty minutes and really aim up in defence which they have done on multiple occasions throughout the season.”
When pushed on a game breaker for both teams?
“Definitely Ash Taylor for the Titans, I have loved watching him develop as a player this year and Anthony Milford for the Broncos, with the ball in hand there are few players who can create opportunities and be genuinely dangerous everytime he touches the ball.