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21 Jan 2018 23:16
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    New Gold Coast chair Watt eyes staff boost

    Former Brisbane chairman Dennis Watt is eyeing a boost in staff after taking over as executive chairman of the Gold Coast NRL club.

    - article from

    Incoming Gold Coast Titans executive chairman Dennis Watt wants to implement a staffing overhaul at the freshly sold NRL club.

    The former Brisbane Broncos chair was ushered into his new role on the same day the NRL handed ownership of the Titans to long-serving pair Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle.

    The Gold Coast consortium beat out fund manager Stuart McAuliffe's audacious $25 million bid, in what boiled down to a two-way fight to buy back the club the NRL took over in 2014.

    In what is essentially the last chance saloon for the Gold Coast franchise, NRL boss Todd Greenberg warned that the code's new full distribution finance model would make it difficult for clubs like the Titans and Newcastle Knights to be bailed out again.

    Heeding that warning, Kelly and Frizelle plan to make the club a profitable one within three years, with Kelly's focus on gaining external income streams.

    It is that revenue that Watt, who helped the Broncos become one of the nation's most commercially successful sporting brands, wants to channel towards extra staff to complement the Titans' new high-performance centre and rookie coach Garth Brennan.

    "These people here have kept the dream alive on the Gold Coast ... it deserves to have a national team that represents their hopes and dreams," Watt said of the Kelly-Frizelle partnership.

    "I was stunned when I walked in here; this just says high performance and it's a pretty good start.

    "(But there is a need to get) away from a hand-to-mouth sort of existence.

    "You look at the staff structure and can see there's room to bring extra hands to the table to assist the people that are here and the structures will evolve over time."

    Greenberg said the winning bid's focus on engagement was a major factor, but his tick of approval came with a word of warning.

    "We're not the long-term owners of clubs," the chief executive said.

    "Club funding now is at a rate it's never been at before - clubs have the best opportunity to stand on their own two feet and run sustainable, successful businesses.

    "The game doesn't have the funds to bail out clubs in the future."

    Kelly lost $5 million when the club collapsed three years ago but always intended to reinvest in what he equates to the ultimate community service.

    "People ask why I put so much time into rugby league and not other charitable organisations," he said.

    "I think rugby league and the programs it runs is the front line for a lot of the social problems we face in society and does a great job in addressing them."

    The property tycoon said the successful proposal "ran to thousands of pages" and was built around a five-year funding plan that should see the franchise finally establish itself on the Gold Coast.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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