iSelect Titans players visited several junior rugby league clubs around the Gold Coast yesterday as part of our junior league ambassador program, giving tips and signing autographs for hundreds of young local players – many of whom may one day be doing the same as a Titans idol.
The Titans-GCJRL Ambassador Program is in its second year with Titans players continuing to work closely with all 13 local junior clubs by attending training sessions, club events as well as assisting with club fundraising activities throughout the season.
Each ambassador spent time with the young teams by assisting with their training, giving advice and leaving time at the end for autographs.
Players Albert Kelly and William Zillman went down to the Currumbin Eagles junior rugby league training to meet with the young aspiring NRL players.
The Currumbin Eagles, formerly called the Currumbin Tugun Seahawks, has 23 teams, ranging from under 6s to under 17s. iSelect Titans under-20s captain Jahrome Hughes came from the club.
Kelly and Zillman went from group to group, with ages ranging from six to nine-year-olds, giving tips on tackling, staying spaced out, and kicking.
“When we tackle we don’t want to be tackle standing up we want to bend with our knees,” Zillman explained to an attentive group of under-6s. “And what do we do with our arms? We wrap them around.”
Two players from the under-9 team, Taj Howe and Baylen Donald, summed up this experience in three words, “exciting, amazing and cool.” These two will join teammates on the Titans field at half-time during the Titans and Rabbitohs NRL game on Saturday night.
President Lindsey Hill looks forward to this event every year. “I think it’s a pretty important part of their development, we could do a lot more of this. The kids love it.”
Zillman reflected back to when his idol came to his team’s footy training in Brisbane when he was a junior. “I just think back to when I was a kid ... you’re sort of in awe of them, it’s a hard feeling to describe. If I could help one of those kids in one small way then it’s worth it.”
Those scenes were repeated at Beaudesert Kingfishers (Jamal Fogarty and Aidan Sezer), Burleigh Bears (Nate Myles, Jamie Dowling), Coomera Cutters (Dave Taylor, Maurice Blair), Helensvale Hornets (David Mead, Beau Henry), Jimboomba Thunder (Luke Bailey, Beau Falloon, Cody Nelson), Mudgeeraba Redbacks (Anthony Don, Brad Tighe, Steve Michaels), Ormeau Shearers (Mark Minichiello, Christian Hazard, Matt White), Parkwood Sharks (Luke Douglas, Paul Carter), Robina Raptors (Mark Ioane, Matt Srama, Kalifa Faifai Loa), Runaway Bay Seagulls (Siuatonga Likiliki, Greg Bird) and Southport Tigers (Matthew Beddow, Kevin Gordon, Sam Irwin).
Importantly, the initiative links local juniors such as Steve Michaels (Mudgeeraba), Jamie Dowling (Burleigh), Jamal Fogarty (Beaudesert), Matt Beddow (Southport) and Jahrome Hughes (Currumbin) with the junior club at which their rugby league careers began.