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Remember (the top try scorers for) the Titans

It’s that time of year when we regular folk might have the Christmas tree up and presents wrapped and, for those with little ones, be preparing for that special night when the big man in red comes to visit.

For the bulk of the players of the 17 NRL clubs, thoughts of Christmas lunch with family, friends and loved ones are on the backburner. They’re already heavily in preseason training ahead of 2023.

Before we focus on the future, we must acknowledge and respect the past. As part of my ongoing series into the best and worst of the Gold Coast Titans, this week we look at the club’s leading try scorers.

8. Mat Rogers (32 tries)

Dual international Mat Rogers was one of the early signings for the Gold Coast Titans upon entering the competition in 2007. Partnering Scott Prince in the halves, the signing of Rogers proved an early masterstroke for the new team.

He scored 32 tries for the Titans throughout a career that spanned 2007-10. He briefly came out of retirement in 2011 to help an injury-depleted Titans outfit before he himself was cruelly injured just minutes into his return, forcing his permanent retirement from the game.

His first try for the Titans came in Round 7 in a 38-12 victory over the Parramatta Eels. He played centre in that match and crossed twice.

The final time he crossed the stripe for Gold Coast was in the side’s 28-16 qualifying final victory over the Warriors in 2010.

8. Scott Prince (32 tries)

Already topping the earlier list of leading point scorers in Titans history, the king of the Gold Coast sits equal eighth when it comes to the tries scored since the club’s 2007 inception. with 32 next to his name.

He opened his account in the hard-fought 24-22 Round 4 clash in their inaugural season. In addition to being co-captain, he was also the lead playmaker for the side, going on to score at least one try in each season played for the club.

The classy Prince last crossed the white line for the Titans in their 2012 Round 25 loss (22-36) to the Panthers. He scored once and slotted three from four with the boot in that match.

Scott Prince Gold Coast Titans

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

8. Anthony Laffranchi (32 tries)

Clearly the game of rugby league is designed for the forward to get the go-forward and the backs to razzle-dazzle with the finish.

That goes to show the tremendous impact Laffranchi had when he became a foundation member of the Gold Coast Titans in 2007.

Already a proven try scorer, having already crossed the line 18 times throughout his five-year stint with Wests Tigers, including in the 2005 premiership, Laffranchi seemed to take his game to a new level throughout his 102 appearances for the Titans.

Throughout his time with the Titans he earnt representative honours for Country in the City versus Country Origin game of 2008 before going on to represent New South Wales in State of Origin.

Scoring his first try for the Titans in their 24-22 Round 4 clash against the Penrith Panthers in their inaugural season, the hard-running forward left everything on the field, and crossed for his 32nd and final try in the thrilling 2011 Round 4 match against the Canberra Raiders in which a Greg Bird field goal secured the Gold Coast a 23-22 victory.

8. Mark Minichiello (32 tries)

Mark Minichiello made 173 appearances for the Gold Coast Titans, becoming a cult hero to the early legion of fans over the seven seasons he pulled on the jersey, crossing the line 32 times.

The hard-running forward, who had all the skill on the field his more fancied Sydney Roosters brother had, put his talent immediately on show by crossing in the club’s second-ever match, with the side claiming their first competition points following an 18-16 victory over the Cronulla Sharks.

Over his seven-year stint with the Titans, Minichiello showed he was one of the Gold Coast’s more reliable players when it came to the team needing a big hearty push. His efforts showed with his final try for the club, which came in their 19-18 Round 26 match of 2014 against the Bulldogs.

The Titans, down 18-nil, posted a remarkable second-half comeback with Minichiello scoring the 32nd try of his career with the Titans and a crucial time of the match to bring them to within distance of snatching the upset victory.

6. Alexander Brimson (34 tries)

Seeing a young name like AJ Brimson, who has inked a long-term deal with the club in their hunt to secure their first premiership, should bring excitement to football fans in general as to what his stats at the end of his career will look like.

Already having displaced so many quality players that had represented the Titans colours before him, AJ Brimson started his career in blistering form, showing just why fans had been calling for his elevation into the first-grade side for months prior to his eventual debut.

He crossed for the first of his current 34 tries in just his second match, the Round 11 clash of the 2018 season in which the Gold Coast defeated the Newcastle Knights 33-26.

His recent transition into the halves has seen him become an even more dangerous player when he has his hands on the ball. Brimson was instrumental in Gold Coast’s Round 25 victory over the New Zealand Warriors in 2022. Finding themselves behind 20-6, the Titans fought back, with Brimson scoring the 34th try of his career. His playmaking abilities led the Titans to a 27-26 victory.

AJ Brimson Gold Coast

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

6. Brian Kelly (34 tries)

Another name on this list that bumps some brilliant past players off it while remaining active on the Gold Coast Titans roster is Brian Kelly.

Originally in the Gold Coast system, Kelly was poached by the Manly Sea Eagles, where he earned his first-grade debut and went on to score 15 tries in 47 appearances on the Northern Beaches before being lured back to Gold Coast in 2019. He scored his first two tries for the club in their Round 3 clash of 2019, a 28-20 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The skilled centre has become a prolific try scorer for the club, proving a lethal finisher on the edge.

He scored the final try of his current tally in the Round 22 clash against his former Sea Eagles club, which the Titans won 44-24.

5. Phillip Sami (40 tries)

Phillip Sami, added with others already on this list, has at times provided the Titans with lethal attacking options on their edge.

Having made 87 appearances for the club to date, he has crossed the stripe 40 times, providing a handy strike record that would no doubt be better if not for hampering injuries over recent seasons.

Aiming to get back to his best football, which he played in 2018, scoring 14 tries in 23 appearances, Sami will end his career further up this list than he currently sits.

He scored his first try in his third appearance for the club, the 26-14 Round 25 loss to the Bulldogs in 2017, and he added the last to his ever-growing tally in the 36-36 loss to the Bulldogs in Round 19 this year. Sami will no doubt climb higher on this list if he can remain healthy.

4. William Zillman (45 tries)

William Zillman’s speed, devastating ball-playing ability and just general skill made him an exciting signing for the Gold Coast Titans upon joining them from the Canberra Raiders for the 2009 season.

Scoring in the opening game of the year, a 34-20 victory over the Newcastle Knights, Zillman would go on to play in over 150 games for the club, raking in 45 tries throughout his injury-hampered career.

Zillman crossed the line for the final time for the Titans in the club’s Round 24 clash of the 2017 season, a 30-8 loss to the Parramatta Eels.

3. Kevin Gordon (58 tries)

Kevin ‘Flash’ Gordon was an early Titans crowd favourite. Hailing from Coffs Harbour, Gordon’s speed and amazing try-scoring abilities had raised eyebrows from an early age.

He made his debut for the Gold Coast Titans in 2009, scoring his first try for the club in their Round 7 loss to the Panthers (34-20) that season, and quickly became a regular in crossing the white line for what was at the time the NRL’s newest franchise.

Kevin Gordon would prove a handful for any defensive line-up when given space, as he showed in crossing the stripe 58 times, his final time coming in the 2015 Round 14 clash against the Bulldogs, which the Titans won 28-14.

An ongoing hip complaint limited Gordon’s game time, eventually forcing him into early retirement.

2. David Mead (67 tries)

From 2009 until the end of 2016 David Mead was a stalwart of the Gold Coast side, making 147 appearances for the club before departing for the Broncos in 2017.

Mead started his prolific try-scoring career in just his second match for the club. A late inclusion to the 2009 Round 16 side set to face the Warriors after the withdrawal of Chris Walker, the then 20-year-old Mead crossed the line twice as the Titans secured the competition points with a 28-12 victory.

The last time he crossed for the Gold Coast was during the 2016 qualifying final against the team he’d eventually join the following year, the Brisbane Broncos. While as a whole the Titans put in a poor effort and were eliminated from the finals race 44-28, Mead contributed with his 67th try in the team’s colours at an important moment of the match to keep fading hopes alive.

1. Anthony Don (85 tries)

There is no surprise that the player topping this list is Anthony Don. Whether you are a fan of the Gold Coast Titans or not, it seemed the rugby league community had a soft spot for Don.

At 25 years and 206 days of age when he eventually made his debut for the Gold Coast Titans in 2013, he’d previously thought his chance of being spotted playing for the Grafton Ghosts had passed him with the surplus of younger backs coming through.

Don would score on debut in that Round 6 clash against the Parramatta Eels, a game the Titans won 28-22. Little did the rugby league community know at the time that the try Don would score would just be the tip of the iceberg of what would become a remarkable career.

In the club’s 2019 Round 3 clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a 28-20 loss, Don scored a try that would take his overall tally for the club to 68, at the time, moving him to outright first on this list.

Despite injuries cruelly robbing him of more game time towards the back end of his career, he did score his 85th and final try for the Gold Coast Titans in their 2020 Round 17 clash against the Bulldogs, which the Titans won 18-14.

Anthony Don announced his retirement from football during the 2021 season after managing just nine appearances. He ended his career with 152 appearances and 85 tries.

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