Yet another part in our editorial series of the greatest teams ever. This time, we will be focusing on the Gold Coast region. Initially, we thought we would focus solely on the Gold Coast Titans but given their short history and thus fewer one-team players, we decided to branch out and include players from all previous Gold Coast sides as well.
So our greatest list ever will include players that have played either for the Gold Coast Titans, the Gold Seagulls or the Gold Coast Chargers. Once again, we reiterate, our list will aim to pick players that have played almost exclusively for the Gold Coast club.
So, with all that in mind, here we have it. Our greatest Gold Coast side ever:
1. Clinton Mohr – Starting at the Brothers Club in Brisbane, Mohr’s first venture in the NSWRFL came with a stint with the St George Dragons. In 1990, Mohr made his debut for the Gold Coast Chargers and was one of the club’s top players. In 80 games for the team over five seasons, Mohr scored 19 tries. He did win a Rugby League Week Player of the Year Award for his stint with Brothers in 1987.
2. Scott Mieni – A crafty winger, Mieni played solely for the Chargers side making his debut in 1988. This was his best year as he scored 8 tries despite the club’s relatively poor season. 1989 was slightly better in the wins column but Mieni only managed to score two tries. Eventually, after playing just four games in 1990, Mieni did not play again and retired.
3. Jason Nicol – A handy utility, Nicol’s career started out with a brief stint at Penrith but limited opportunity saw him make the move to the Gold Coast years a few years later. In 1996, his opportunity with the Chargers came and he made the most of it, playing in 51 games over three seasons and scoring 15 tries in that time. His best year as a Chargers player was in 1997 where the club made its only finals series in their history.
4. Brett Horsnell – A Keebra Park High student, Horsnell made the 1988 Australian Schoolboys side and the Junior Queensland side. Making his debut as a five-eighth/centre in 1989, Horsnell moved to the forwards as his career went on and by the time 1992 came around, he was playing an entire season at lock. After six seasons and 82 matches, Horsnell departed the club to join the South Queensland Crushers. He was one of the players to play the most games for the Chargers/Seagulls Gold Coast side in their existence. He finished his career with a brief stint at the Parramatta Eels.
5. Peter Benson – Benson may have played for a total of five NSWRL teams over his career but of his 50 games, 39 of them came with the Gold Coast Chargers. Starting his career with the North Sydney Bears, he then played for the Brisbane Broncos before joining the Gold Coast Chargers for the first time. Over two seasons, he played 38 games for the club and scored 104 points (8 tries and 36 goals). He then had a stint with English side Wakefield before playing for the Raiders in 1994 and rejoining the Charges to play 1 further game in the same year.
6. Preston Campbell – Whilst Campbell is well known for his rather lengthy stints with both the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers, his impact on the Gold Coast Titans as an inaugural player, throughout his career and after he retired played a crucial role for the club on and off the field.
Joining the Gold Coast Chargers in their final season (1998), Campbell predominantly played fullback that year and took part in 14 games and scoring 4 tries.
After spending time with both Cronulla and Penrith, he returned to the Gold Coast with the Titans in 2007 as an inaugural player. An early injury to team-mate Chris Walker meant that Campbell spent much of the 2007 season playing at fullback, just like his maiden year in the top flight.
He was in good form throughout the 2007 season and into 2008 and as a result, he extended his contract with the Titans. 2008 was perhaps Campbell’s best year at the Titans with his consistency and inspiring performances leading him to the Paul Broughton Medal, the award for the Gold Coast’s Player of the Year.
He also won the Ken Stephens Medal for his commitment to community service which he is still involved in at present. In 2009, due to injuries to other key players, Campbell filled in at halfback and five-eighth at numerous times throughout the season as well as playing fullback when others were fit. After a couple more seasons with the Titans, Campbell retired at the end of the 2011 season.
7. Geoff Bagnall – Playing with the Chargers for just 4 seasons, Bagnall ended up playing 55 games for the club as a key playmaker in the team. Despite some tough seasons for the club during his time there, Bagnall created numerous opportunities and plays that led to points.
After his stint with the Chargers came to an end, Bagnall joined English side Wakefield and won the Yorkshire Cup.
8. Brendan Hurst – Playing 74 games in total for the Chargers, Hurst joined the club in 1994. A handy, hard-working utility forward, Hurst was also an adept goal-kicker during his years at the club. Kicking at a percentage of 67.93%, he was relatively accurate and by the time his career at the Chargers came to an end, he amassed 285 points (8 tries and 125 goals). This is a record for the now defunct club. Throughout his career, Hurst covered front-row, back-row and lock, depending on the needs of the club and injuries that affected the club.
9. Jamie Goddard – One of the best players to don a Chargers jersey, Goddard played the most games for the now defunct club with a total of 86 games. A handy hooker, he made just one appearance in his debut year (1992) in what was a win.
1993 and 1994 saw him make a handful of appearances but it was in 1995 where he really hit his stride. He cemented his spot as the starting hooker and took the opportunity with both hands.
Once he became a mainstay in the side, Goddard was captain until the Chargers outfit folded from all competitions. For his position, Goddard managed to find the try-line frequently and scored a total of 23 tries from his 86 games with the Chargers. Once the club folded, he went on to enjoy stints with both the North Sydney Bears and then the Northern Eagles where he finished his career.
10. Tony Durheim – Playing for the Chargers for much of their existence, Durheim was perhaps the club’s most loyal player throughout. Playing in 75 total games, he is in the top five for most games played at the club. Not a noted try-scorer, he was a hard runner and a hard worker, often setting the tone and leading the forward pack through the middle. He played just two games in 1992, his debut year but injuries limited him to just 12 appearances in three years from 1992-1995.
11. Michael Searle – Many know Michael Searle as the former Gold Coast Titans CEO but at one point, he actually played for the Chargers. Making his debut in 1988, he went on to enjoy a lengthy career with the club until the end of the 1995 season. He played in 54 total games with his best year being 1990 when he played 18 games and scored three tries. After that, his opportunities decreased and dwindled before he opted to retire as a player at the end of the 1995 season.
He was behind the push to get the Gold Coast back in the NRL in 1999 and acted as the club’s CEO for many years before stepping down from the role during the 2012 season.
12. Mark Minichiello – The only Gold Coast Titans player in our team apart from Preston Campbell, Minichiello was a strong consistent performer for the club for quite a number of years. Playing in 173 games, up there among the best for the Titans in their history, he was also an inaugural member at the club in 2007. Previously, he had stints at both the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Whilst he never played Origin, Minichiello did play 5 games for the NSW City side but he has had the honour of representing Italy on three occasions. He scored 35 tries in his career including three doubles and stayed with the club until the end of the 2014 season.
He made the decision to move to Hull FC in England where he is still an active player at the club.
13. Terry Cook – Playing with the Chargers for just four seasons, Cook’s impact was felt throughout that time. Debuting in 1991, he performed somewhat consistently before having a break-out season in 1993 that saw him play 22 games. That number declined in 1994 when he played just 5 games which prompted a move to the South Queensland Crushers.
In the end, he played 56 games for the Chargers side and scored 5 tries during that time.
14. Greg Whitbread – Playing a total of 52 games for the Chargers over four seasons, Whitbread had previously debuted with the Bulldogs and played there for two seasons. His Chargers debut came in 1988 that saw him play a total of 16 games that year. The number of games slowly dwindled as the seasons wore on with his final season at the club resulting in just 9 games in 1991.
15. Jeremy Schloss – Making his debut during the 1994 NSWRL season, Schloss played only one game that year. As the 1995 season rolled around, his game-time increased and he played in 11 games.
His two career years during the ARL seasons of 1996 and 1997. Scoring 13 tries over that two year period, he took his game to a new level and was one of the club’s most consistent performers.
In the end, he played in 51 games for the Chargers and then had stints at both the Rabbitohs and the Cowboys before retiring.
16. Keith Neller – Initially starting his career in England with Halifax – winning the Challenge Cup final in 1987 – Neller joined the Chargers in the 1988 season.
His appearances throughout the seasons were up and down but he enjoyed some personal success during the 1991 season when he scored three tries over fourteen games.
1992 was his last season with the Chargers and in rugby league when he played just 2 games.
17. Damien Driscoll – Playing for four clubs in total across his career, he played 57 games for the Chargers, the most in his career for any team.
His debut season was with the Western Suburbs Magpies but with just 8 appearances in 1995, he made a decision to head to the Charges side.
That led to consistent appearances over the next two seasons, with Driscoll’s play and form one of the many reasons that earned the Chargers a maiden finals berth in 1997.
Despite producing good form for the Charges in both 1997 and 1998, the Chargers unfortunately folded and that led to Driscoll playing for both the Manly Sea Eagles and then the Northern Eagles.