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Gold Coast Titans CEO Graham Annesley and respected player Ashley Harrison visited Toowoomba today to celebrate the success of the Titans’ pre-season visit in February which raised $75,000 for local rugby league.

They handed over a cheque symbolising the funds raised from their visit that included junior development and promotional work over three days before the trial match against North Queensland Cowboys.

Paul Dean, chairman of Toowoomba Rugby League, and Clydesdales chairman Paul Reedy said the local league was fortunate to have struck a close link with the Titans and welcomed Annesley, Queensland representative Harrison and Titans general manager of player and community development, Matthew Francis, back to the town.

Dean commended the Titans for their level of community involvement and availability during their visit to Toowoomba and thanked them for the cheque. “The money raised from this event will be spent on initiatives to increase participation in rugby league.  We have already begun our behaviour management seminars and commenced purchasing computer equipment for our clubs to assist our volunteers.” he said.

Reedy made note of the Titan’s professionalism and level of involvement with the Clydesdales through their education programs that they have hosted for the young Clydesdale players, he said: “The on field training that the Titans have attended and the pathways they are offering our players to continue their rugby league careers is invaluable.”

Annesley praised both the Toowoomba Rugby League and the Clydesdales on the success of the event and their vision for the development of the game in the region.

“Rugby league brings communities together and the success of the event was based on the great volunteer spirit that is the lifeblood of our game at the grassroots level,” he said.

“The Titans as an organisation is committed to both the development of the game and the positive impact we can achieve through our education and social programs.

“We are also fortunate to have a head coach in John Cartwright and a playing group who understand the importance of giving back to the community and enjoy this interaction.

“We were overwhelmed by the response we received and look forward to growing the relationship with a region that has a rich and proud history in the game.”

The Toowoomba league and the Titans also announced a Junior Titans raffle to further assist local clubs in raising much-need funds.

Harrison said the Titans players were always happy to be involved in promoting the game and enjoyed their visits to regional centres.

“The players always get a buzz out of putting a smile on the faces of kids whether it is at a coaching clinic or when we visit schools or the local hospital,” he said.

 “Coming to a regional centre like Toowoomba is a highlight because the kids seem to appreciate having rare access to NRL players.

 “I can still remember my days in the junior ranks and the impact meeting NRL players had on my aspirations both as a player and a person.

“If we can inspire one kid to achieve his or her dream then we know we have made a real difference.”

The Titans also announced a new aspect of the relationship as they have put up a money-can't-buy-experience for Toowoomba Junior Rugby League clubs to raffle off.

The winner and three friends will get to run out with the Titans for their round 26 home match against the Bulldogs, sit on the bench amongst other game day treats, receive a Titans pack full of merchandise and the club that sells the winning ticket will also have Nate Myles and Greg Bird conduct a coaching clinic.

CAPTION: Ashley Harrison (back), Toowoomba Rugby League chairman Paul Dean, Toowoomba Clydesdales chairman Paul Reedy, Titans chief executive Graham Annesley, (front) along with Toowoomba junior players Cooper Holden and Callum Petersen at Gold Park, Toowoomba. Photo: Toowoomba Chronicle.