The National Rugby League (NRL), the top-tier of rugby league in Australia, has announced that a local consortium led by Darryl and Joanne Kelly, and Rebecca and Brett Frizelle will assume ownership of the Gold Coast Titans.
Darryl Kelly is a former co-owner of the troubled franchise, and lost a reported AUS$5 million (US$3.8 million) when the club ran into financial difficulties in 2014 and was subsequently taken over by the NRL.
It is hoped that the deal will secure the long-term future of the Titans, who were placed into voluntary administration three years ago amid a cocaine scandal involving eight of their high-profile players.
Todd Greenberg, chief executive of the NRL, said: “We said all the way through this process that our primary aim was to ensure the Titans become a well-run, profitable and successful club for their fans and the local community, and we have no doubt that can best be achieved under the direction of this consortium.”
Darryl Kelly, said: “I've been involved in this game throughout my life at a regional and grassroots level, and while my time with the Titans has been challenging, I genuinely believe we can make a difference now that the ownership has been resolved.”
Rebecca Frizelle, added: “Securing the future of the Titans is a great way that our family, with the Kelly family, can ensure the future of an irreplaceable community asset like the Titans.
“Although the club will be privately owned by the Kelly and Frizelle families until it can become self-sustainable in the long term, it will always be community driven and eventually community owned.”
The consortium has already moved to bring in Dennis Watt as the club’s new chairman. Watt brings nearly two decades of experience in rugby league, and served in the same role with two other NRL sides, the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos.
Commenting on his appointment, Watt said: “There is so much potential here and I can see the day when the Titans are going to be seen as a rugby league and sporting powerhouse.
“There is a real excitement around the potential of the Titans club and the community. You just want to see it flourish with great community involvement and great community support. There is only one way to look, and that is up.”