The Aquis Titans players will run out onto Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday through a guard of honour of former players – but not just those who have worn the Titans jersey before them, but those who have represented the Gold Coast since the region’s first venture into the major league competition as the Giants in 1988.
It is part of a joining of forces of the Gold Coast ‘old boys’ association that was launched by former Giants and Seagulls Geoff Bagnall and Danny Sharpe in 2007 when the Titans came into being, and the building of the Titans’ network now that the current and former playing ranks has surpassed the 100 mark.
There have now been 295 players play first grade for the Giants (1988-89), Seagulls (1990-95), Chargers (1996-98) and Titans (2007-).
Around 50 former players will attend a pre-match reunion at Burleigh Bears on Sunday and then attend the Titans-Dragons match, forming a guard of honour before kick-off.
Among them will be the only second-generation family representatives in Robert Simpkins who was part of the original Giants team and his son Ryan, a Gold Coast junior who returned to the club this season. Also attending are State of Origin players Steve Jackson, Neil Hunt, Ashley Harrison and Terry Cook while Anthony Laffranchi (Titans on-field trainer) and Wally Lewis (working for Channel 9) will also be there.
“The Titans Gold Coast Old Boys kicked off in 2007, the same year of the inaugural season of the Titans and our main reasons for this were to encourage old players and supporters of the Gold Coast teams from over the years to get behind our ‘new team’, the Titans, as well as to highlight the past and rekindle some old footballing friendships,” said Bagnall.
“Along the way our group has been able to help many former Gold Coast players as well as a couple of local children in need of support.
“It’s wonderful now that we have united with the Titans who now have over 100 players wear the jersey and create a strong tradition that includes all those who have represented the Gold Coast in the ARL or NRL competitions.
“And we want to raise money to help the club, those in need amongst our ranks and particularly young local players coming through the ranks wanting to play for the Titans in the NRL through an incentive scholarship we are working on.”
Current Titans player Luke Douglas welcomed the initiative.
“It will be special to run out in front of players who have passed the baton to us from back as far as 1988 and it will be an extra incentive for us to perform well on Sunday.
“I look forward to joining them as an old boy one day too.”
PICTURED (from left): Peter Gill (Seagulls), Anthony Laffranchi (foundation Titan), Scott Sattler (Chargers), Ryan Simpkins (current Titan) and Robert Sinpkins (foundation Giant).