Broken playing group Titans' No.1 issue

Healing a playing group divided by Neil Henry's sacking will be priority number one for Gold Coast's next NRL coach.

Resolving the differences in a divided playing group looms as the biggest immediate challenge for whoever becomes Gold Coast's next NRL coach.

Neil Henry, the man appointed in 2014 following the sacking of foundation coach John Cartwright, was axed on Monday with a year remaining on his contract.

It brings an underwhelming end to a coaching tenure during which Henry dragged a club afflicted by boardroom turmoil, off-field drama and recruitment sagas to a first finals appearance in six years in 2016.

Henry's first full season in charge of the Titans coincided with an off-field drugs drama for several players, the club entering voluntary administration and a high-profile snubbing by backflipping recruit Daly Cherry-Evans.

Despite those woes, Henry began rebuilding the club's list - recruiting unwanted talents such as Konrad Hurrell and Ash Taylor as the Titans gained a top-eight finish in his second season at the helm.

But that successful run 12 months ago was when the seeds of his demise were first sown with the much-hyped recruitment of superstar code-hopper Jarryd Hayne.

With the end of his NFL and rugby union dalliances, Hayne arrived on the coast as the club was enjoying its most successful time on the field in years.

His arrival was lauded as the final piece in the Titans revival - a marquee player to take them from battlers to premiership contenders.

Hayne's performances on the field have rarely justified his price tag however, with his much-hyped arrival seeming to derail the team's momentum as they were knocked out in the opening week of the 2016 finals.

Injuries have played their part in an underwhelming 2017 campaign, with the Titans slipping perilously close to the wooden spoon with just two games to go in the season.

The Titans' poor form has been overshadowed however by increasing reports of a feud between Hayne and Henry - who is widely believed to have not had a say in the former Parramatta's star's recruitment.

Adding fuel to the fire was speculation highly-rated playmaker Taylor was also unhappy with Henry.

Meanwhile senior players including captain Ryan James, New Zealand international Kevin Proctor and State of Origin forwards Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace offered strong public support for Henry, some fronting CEO Graham Annesley to stress their backing.

Hayne's reported $1.2 million contract is too lucrative for the Titans to simply pay out, meaning the 29-year-old will remain at the club at least until the end of next season unless a deal is secured elsewhere.

His continued presence will do little to dispel fears the players are now divided into those who backed their now ex-coach in the past few weeks and those who didn't.

If the Titans are to get back on track on the field in 2018, bridging that rift will be priority number one for the man who steps into Henry's shoes.

Source AAP

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