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Titans pair strong in face of criticism

Two things happened in rugby league this week that slipped by without much fanfare. But they were significant in my mind.

The first was Michael Searle securing investors to shore up the embattled Gold Coast Titans and the second was Scott Prince's man-of-the-match performance for the Titans against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Skilled Park.

Both of these men have had to face up to some significant personal challenges over the past 18 months, Searle on the commercial side and Prince out on the playing surface. Suffice to say that the tough times they've both experienced, coupled with the sensationalised public comment on the way through, would have made lesser men turn tail and run.

Two years ago, I finished up an 18-month stint working with the Gold Coast Titans as general manager of sales and marketing. In my role I spent plenty of time with Searle and Prince and got an insight into what makes both men tick.

Working in commercial operations, I also got a sense that a poorly timed property investment (in hindsight only) and terrible economic conditions were going to make for tough times ahead.

Like many businesses during the global financial crisis, the Titans' once-sound business plan very quickly became obsolete. The club faltered in the face of worldwide economic catastrophe.

Much would be required of Searle to steer his once rock-solid ship clear of a looming and potentially fatal iceberg.

While Searle was battling to save the Titans off the field, rugby league's critics were lining up to take pot shots at club captain and foundation player Prince.

Many said Prince was past his best, he was no longer taking on the line in attack and had become a defensive liability. He was also captain of a team that had earned themselves the dreaded wooden spoon in 2011 and had started season 2012 in tardy fashion.

Despite all this, Prince remained resolute and continued to work hard believing things would eventually turn for both himself and his team.

Public criticism and expectation are very difficult things to deal with. I've know many who live under the protection of anonymity all the while espousing that those in public roles should accept criticism from the shop floor as part of their job.

This is true to a point but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with when you're on the receiving end.

I'm not suggesting Prince or Searle have been faultless in their respective roles at the Titans, or that the media focus around them has been unwarranted. Talk to Searle and Prince and they'll tell you themselves that things could have been done better along the way.

But the real story here is the courage and determination shown by two people who chose to face up to their challenges and forge ahead amid the screams from those in the bleachers only looking to find fault.

This week, after many months of being battered in full public view, Searle has started to pull the Titans out of the financial abyss. Searle has formulated a plan and recruited the right people to slowly start rebuilding the club he helped create.

And while Prince might have started season 2012 a little slow, he is back playing great footy and proving again that he is the Titans' most influential player.

I have nothing but admiration for those who stand tall in the face of the naysayers and stick around to fight the good fight.

With that in mind I'll leave you with an old chestnut from Theodore Roosevelt that reminds us all why the reward is in the doing of the things, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding:

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause;

"Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

2 comments so far

  • Ben... did you ever notice Searle donning a pair of white shoes? Are they not de rigueur on the Gold Coast for property magnets?

    Stick to Sales and Marketing Ben. Global economics and finance does not seem to be a strong point.

    The Couch
    Date and time
    June 20, 2012, 5:13PM
    • Poor deluded one eyed QLDer Ikin - the GFC had notingh to do with Searle having to sell off the farm to keep the Titans alive - he continually grandstanded by saying that the Titans were profitable. If that was / is the case, then why did he need to sell off whatever amount of the club that he was foced to sell off to pay down debt? Similarly, the value of a highly specialised property was NEVER what Searle thought it to be. The value of such specialised property is only as good as the income it generates, meaning in this case, 2/10ths of 5/8ths of FA. Typical Gold Coast property spruiker - they are a dime a dozen those blokes.However, I do grant you the turnaround in performance of Scott Pirnce - he is playing out of his skin at the moment.

      Real Istic
      Date and time
      June 21, 2012, 12:06PM

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