2020 saw many challenges and uncertainty for everyone. Despite this, the Titans were able to deliver much needed community spirit, resources and donations for the local community.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Titans launched Titans Together, their new foundation showcasing their commitment and connection to the local community.
Speaking at the launch, CEO Steve Mitchell said the new foundation was a great representation of the club and its strong community-based focus.
“[Titans Together] is an opportunity to focus on the work we are doing, an opportunity to communicate a little more clearly exactly what the organisation does and the four pillars (Care, Include, Unite, Inspire) that go beside that,” Mitchell said.
“Our mandate is about inclusion, and that means the whole of the Gold Coast – all our peers, other athletes, other community groups – the Gold Coast has got to be the beneficiary of the work that the Titans do,” he said.
Soon after the launch, the impending COVID-19 pandemic became more apparent. NRL games stopped and staff began working from home.
During this time, Titans players and staff stepped up and donated much needed ice vests and care packages to both Gold Coast Hospitals for frontline nurses, doctors and staff.
Titans halfback Ash Taylor expressed his gratitude for frontline workers from the hospitals.
“They’re doing a great job. I’m proud of the work they have been doing through this period and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing work they are doing,” Taylor said.
Once the NRL resumed and fans were allowed back into stadiums, the Titans invited their Multicultural Ambassadors to the Round 18 game against the Broncos at CBUS Stadium.
The match featured the largest crowd to watch an NRL game since the COVID break with the Titans winning 18-6.
Titans General Manager – Community and Game Development, Renee Cohen said the event was a representation of the strong partnership the club has with the community.
“The club has a really strong relationship with numerous cultural organisations on the coast,” Cohen said.
“We are very proud of the diverse relationships the club has with its members and fans,” she said.
Additionally, since the club’s inception, the Titans have had a strong relationship with First Nations people.
A major focus throughout the year, was the launch of the Titans ‘Stretch’ installment of their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Yugambeh Elder Uncle Ted Williams said the Titans had been leading by example in their commitment to reconciliation.
“The impact the Titans have for Indigenous kids on the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales is immense,” Uncle Ted Williams said.
“They can see the change and now know that they can do it and that they have a chance,” he said.
Titans CEO Steve Mitchell said the Reconciliation Action Plan was a way for the Titans to use their influence and exposure for good.
“We believe it is our obligation to lead best practices in the reconciliation space and this RAP challenges us to use our exposure through the NRL to achieve that,” Mitchell said.
Titans foundation player Preston Campbell said he was proud of the Titans’ involvement in the Indigenous sector since their very first game.
“They [the Titans] have always set the bar in terms of the contributions they’re able to make with different groups,” Campbell said.
“What people don’t know is the Gold Coast Titans have been doing this way before they had a RAP, this just makes it official,” he said.
“I’m very happy that the Gold Coast Titans are so committed to the Indigenous community.”
Term 3 and term 4 saw the return of rugby league for Year’s 7-12 across the Gold Coast.
The Titans School League Cup, Karyn Murphy Cup and Titans 9’s Gala Day were a huge success, with parents and staff expressing their gratitude to the club for the opportunity for students to play after such a challenging year.
The Titans secured an U19’s female trial match against the Newcastle Knights in January next year.
The match will be the first female game against another NRL club in the Titan’s history, an exciting step in the Titans pathway to entering an NRLW team.
Despite the break in the middle of the season, the Gold Coast Titans Physical Disability and Intellectual Disability Rugby League Teams (PDRL & IDRL) had the opportunity to participate in numerous events, seminars and games.
Titans Together charity partner LIVIN delivered a ‘LIVINWell’ session for the players, focusing on mental health.
Especially fitting after months of social isolation and restrictions enforced by COVID-19, the session covered mental health tips to help players.
The session clearly had great effect on players, with Titans IDRL player Chris Hinckesman commenting on how he enjoyed the program.
“LIVIN is awesome and I love it. That’s really great for me and I want to do that,” Hinckesman said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, PDRL and IDRL players were unable to play games against interstate teams, something that all players and staff were looking forward to at the start of the year.
Not giving up hope, the Titans still facilitated training for players, with both teams being able to play in a local Oztag competition later in the year.
The team came out as undefeated premiers of the season, a major milestone after such a challenging year.
Not only did they have the opportunity to play Oztag, the teams also competed in the annual Gold Coast Beach Rugby 5’s.
Playing alongside their favourite NRL and Union legends, PDRL and IDRL players had the opportunity to play in the All Star’s Charity match.
Man of the match, Hudson Wicks said the team trained hard ahead of the event.
“It feels really good,” Wicks said.
“The boys have been training really hard, so it’s been great work from all the boys,” he said.
Finishing up the successful year for the PDRL and IDRL teams, the players competed in the United Through Sports Virtual Youth Competition.
The annual competition showcases worldwide inclusion, unity and sport among young people. The PDRL and IDRL teams competed in the MaxFit competition.
Last month, the Titans held their annual NAIDOC Week event in partnership with Deadly Choices and Kalwun Health.
Due to COVID-19, the annual week of celebrations was postponed from July to November.
The NAIDOC Community Day was deemed a success – full of sunshine, music, traditional food and entertainment.
In the same week, the 2020 Deadly Futures Program concluded. The program is an experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students that covers Indigenous timelines, cultural identity and career aspirations.
The program is delivered in partnership with the Preston Campbell Foundation, students are guided on a pathway to a greater understanding and sense of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.
The program was concluded with great feedback from teachers and students who are looking forward to the return of the program in 2021.
Concluding the year, the Titans celebrated International Day of People with Disability with a lunch and game of putt putt at Parkwood Village.
Players Jarrod Wallace, Sam McIntyre and Anthony Don came along to celebrate the day.
Despite the challenges, disruption and restrictions of 2020, the Gold Coast Titans and Titans Together were able to still deliver on their promises and commitments.
This year, more than ever the community needed an organisation to Care, Unite, Include and Inspire – and the Gold Coast Titans showcased just that.