The iSelect Gold Coast Titans and Titans 4 Tomorrow celebrated NAIDOC week with special activities at Cbus Super Stadium yesterday involving the Titans’ record number of Indigenous players and T4T worker and passionate Indigenous advocate Preston Campbell.
Celebrations are held around Australia during NAIDOC week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) each year, from the first Sunday in July to the following Sunday, to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous communities but also in an increasing number of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.
The Titans have a proud standing in the Indigenous community through the work of Titans 4 Tomorrow which has several programs that involve more than 600 people across several programs, particularly in high schools.
Several of those who participate in the programs, from the Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands Bay and Surat Basin areas, plus case managers and workers, will come together the stadium to be involved in activities such as weaving, traditional face painting, charcoal on paperback art, boomerang throwing and didgeridoo playing.
The Titans have the highest Indigenous representation of all NRL clubs with eight - Brad Tighe, Albert Kelly, Maurice Blair, Ryan James, Greg Bird, Aidan Sezer, James Roberts and Caleb Binge playing in the side this season - and Jamal Fogarty in the NRL squad, and Christian Hazard who trains with the squad but is playing in under-20s.
Campbell, the Dally M Medal winner who played with the Titans from 2007 to 2011 during a career that included 267 NRL appearances, is extremely proud of not just his heritage but the Titans’ commitment to the Indigenous community.
“NAIDOC week is a week that acknowledges Indigenous people and their culture but is also an opportunity for build awareness of Indigenous culture,” Campbell said.
“It’s also a chance for people who have moved away from their communities to get together and celebrate who they are and learn more about their culture.
“For me it’s special to have the players involved too in celebrating our culture. We have never had so many Indigenous players in the Titans squad. While I enjoyed the camaraderie with all the players I’ve enjoyed playing with, and you really do regard those you spend so much time together as a professional player as your brothers, I also found a real affinity with other Indigenous players.”