The Aquis Titans will have some special guests at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday when we welcome a group the Mungindi Grasshoppers who will travel ten hours the morning of the match to attend what for most will be their first NRL game.
Mungindi is a small town near Lightning Ridge in the far north west of New South Wales. The area is heavily affected by draught, which means times are tough.
Bianca Tootell and her husband Charlie created the club to bring happiness to the community. The club started with only eight members and now features more than 50. They can travel up to 150km for a game of rugby league.
“We’ve got mums and dads looking after the kids and coaching them in their spare time, they’re doing completely unpaid work out of the kindness of their hearts to put smiles on the kids faces which we can’t thank enough” says Bianca.
Since mentioning a trip to the Gold Coast, it has sparked excitement among the kids and generosity from within the community.
“Most of our members would never get the opportunity to do something like this, and haven’t seen a real live NRL game before” says Bianca.
As the Grasshoppers are such a small club with limited funds it has taken a lot of team effort to make this trip a possibility. The team held a carwash on Easter Saturday to raise money, as well as several raffles and community breakfasts with donated food.
“We’ve had small businesses, families and even the local pub donate money to the club for the trip. The generosity and support of the community has been heartwarming,” Bianca said.
The club will be leaving Mungindi at 4am and travelling ten hours by bus to the Gold Coast, bringing with them 50 of their young indigenous and non-indigenous players aged five to 12, along with 15 parents who have volunteered to help.
To make this a memorable experience for the young players, the Titans has arranged a guard of honor for the players to run through, as well as the chance to meet some of the injured players before the game.
The group will then be staying at the Tallebudgera recreation centre overnight before the long drive home with lifetime memories watching Kangaroos Greg Bird, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and their NRL counterparts … and hopefully an epic Titans victory!