Players from different eras, who wore different jerseys and had varying success over almost three decades all shared one thing in common yesterday – a passion for rugby league on the Gold Coast.
It was the first of the Titans’ ‘old boys day’ where the club recognised all those who had played for (and coached or worked for) the teams that have represented the area since the Giants came into what was then the NSW Rugby League competition in 1988.
They became the Seagulls, bankrolled by the Tweed Heads Seagulls Leagues Club, in 1990 then the Chargers in 1996 who, during the tough Super League split in the game, had to be underwritten by the Australian Rugby League – just as the Titans are today.
Yesterday saw a gathering of more than 40 many talented men (and several partners), firstly at the Burleigh Bears club who generously supported the first reunion, and then at Cbus Super Stadium to form a guard of honour then watch the magnificent 28-26 victory against the Dragons.
Included were State of Origin players Steve Jackson, Terry Cooke and Neil Hunt with Wally Lewis, on duty for Channel 9, joining them for the guard of honour. Also there was former Test hooker Elwyn Walters who was original team manager.
There were many of the original Giants of ’88 including Peter Smith, Geoff Bagnall, Ben Gonzales, Danny Sharpe, Troy McCarthy, Neil Hunt, Robert Simpkins, Glenn Burgess, Keith Neller and Greg Whitbread.
“It was a great day and we all became stronger, faster and better than we ever were 27 years ago,” said Bagnall, a chief architect of the reunion and now a teacher at Palm Beach Currumbin state high.
Jackson, who scored the try that sealed Canberra’s first premiership in the 1989 grand final before having a season with Wests and joining the Seagulls in 1991,
Tom ‘Lemonade’ Feehan, Darrell Madge - trainers from the early days, still involved with the Titans today – also took part in the guard of honour.
Others present on the day included Peter Gill, Kangaroo representative Phil Daley, Paul Galea, Matt Petersen, Ashley Harrison, Tony Durheim, Terry Dandengo, David King and Craig Weston.
The old boys network has been officially called ‘From Giants to Titans’ and will conduct functions, raise money to assist those in need and support the club, including striking a scholarship to assist a local junior who comes into the Titans ranks.