Former Gold Coast Titan Clinton Toopi says “decades” of desire was the driving force behind an exceptional Titans Women’s Invitational match at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.
Toopi coached the Titans Pink team that won the game against Titans Blue 22-6.
The historic game was the culmination of a 200-strong application list, a 60-strong player combine and three-week training camp for the final squad of 36 players.
What resulted was a high quality and intense game of rugby league that was a high-water mark for local women’s rugby league.
Toopi says it was a long time coming for the girls that have been eager to play top-flight rugby league all their lives.
“A lot of these girls have been yearning for this for a long time – not just since the NRLW came in, but for decades since they were young girls,” Toopi said.
“So the commitment they showed was outstanding, and they were really excited to be playing in a Titans jersey.
“The talent they possess is up there with the best in the women’s game, and it was great for them to be able to flex their muscles at Cbus.”
Toopi said the quality and intensity shown at training left him in no doubt that the game was going to be a quality contest.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by how good the game was, and how well the girls went,” he said.
“I watched them train for three weeks, and when you’ve been around rugby league for long enough, you know when a team is going to fire or not before they’ve played a game.
“They wanted to prepare well and they wanted to win.”
With the instant success of the Titans Women’s Invitational, the idea of it becoming an annual event is very possible and something Toopi says that needs to happen.
“I would love for this to become an annual event, and the girls would too,” he said. “The Pink team loved every minute of it. We have a group chat now and all stay in touch and I know the Blue team is the same.
“Being a part of the Titans, these girls were really excited that they were training at an elite facility and if it becomes an annual event, both teams will be able to access the best preparation possible with the facilities the Titans have got.”
The talent on show on Saturday night was first class, and Toopi says the 36 players that became the Titans’ first women’s players are more than ready for the NRLW.
“Most of the girls already play in first division of their local competition and some of them are representative players, so I know they’re 100 percent capable of handling the NRLW,” Toopi said.
“That’s why it’s so important the Titans get a team sooner rather than later.
“They want to play for the Gold Coast. A lot of them a from here and it’s such a great talent pool.
“The professionalism of the Titans and their High Performance Centre means the players will only get better. With a full pre-season of training, I have no doubt they’re ready for the top level.”