Mal's Plea to Help In The Hunt For History

Do you recognise these men?

If so, you may be able to help Mal Meninga place a big piece of the puzzle in building the story of the story of rugby league in the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers community.

Meninga, the Titans Head of Performance and Culture, is building a history piece around the club, and how rugby league got started in the area.

To assist in getting that story told, the Titans have put together a history committee to formalize rugby league’s long history in the region, so people could understand the game’s roots on the Gold Coast and in the Northern Rivers run much deeper than the birth of the Titans in 2007 or the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants in 1988.

This photo is of the first Tweed Seagulls team from 1909, and Meninga is hoping family connections to the team members may be able to identify and shed some light on the players and acknowledge their role in getting rugby league started in the region more than 100 years ago.

According to the photo, the first Seagulls team comprised of:

Back row: J Thornley, W Wappett, G Philips, J Johnson, G Endleman, W Tierney, G Woods, C Cunningham, E Richardson, J Gibson

Third row: D Campbell, W Drummond, A Thompson (Manager), F Ricketts, G Powell

Second row: R Vardy, P Cunningham, E Pollett (Captain), J Gray, O Phillips

Front row: C Gray, W Ayre

“These guys were a part of the very first Tweed Seagulls rugby league team in 1909, which puts the game’s history in our community back to the very beginning of rugby league in Australia,” Mal said.

“This team is recognized as the earliest regional rugby league team in Australia. Newcastle and Tweed Heads were the first places outside of Sydney and Brisbane to embrace the game, just a year after it started in the capital cities in 1908. They are the pioneers of the game in our region.

“By 1914, six local rugby union clubs decided to defect to start their own rugby league competition in the Tweed. It was a decision that resulted in the creation of one of the game’s greatest nurseries, and ultimately led to the creation of the Titans.

“To be able to find out the stories behind these names and faces will help us piece together how rugby league got up and running in the area.

“What we are looking for is for family members or acquaintances of the family to contact us so we can fill in the blanks, and hopefully maybe even track down a jersey or some other physical link to the start of rugby league on the Tweed.”

This photo is just part of the larger rugby league picture in the region, and Meninga encouraged anyone with a tie to the game’s history on the Gold Coast or Northern Rivers – a photo, jersey, match program or story to tell – to make contact with the Titans’ History Committee.

“I am a big believer in the saying that you can’t work out where you are going until you know where you have come from, and having the people of our community contributing towards building the story of rugby league’s history here is what will help build the future success of the Titans,” he said.

“If anyone believes they have something to contribute to that story, they can email us at history@titans.com.au”.