Titans snap up NSW Sport Minister

A FORMER NRL referee who controlled finals, State of Origin matches and Tests was appointed by the Gold Coast Titans yesterday to make the club a rugby league powerhouse.

Graham Annesley started as a first-grade referee in 1982 and controlled more than 250 top-level games before hanging up his whistle to focus on sports administration. He eventually became the NRL's chief operating officer.

He left the game in March 2011 to become the Minister for Sport and Recreation in the New South Wales Government, but announced yesterday that he was stepping away from politics to become the Titans' chief executive.

"I have always believed the Titans have an incredibly bright and exciting future," the 56-year-old said.

"The club has the potential to consistently rank among the leading and most recognisable brands in the country - sporting or commercial."

During his time on the NRL executive, Annesley worked closely with the Titans' bid team before the club's admission to the NRL in 2007. He was also credited with introducing the video referee system to the NRL.

Annesley starts the role in the middle of next month.