Seven Gold Coast Titans contracted junior development players have tasted success, winning the under-18 Mal Meninga Cup competition.
Playing for Titans affiliate club, Tweed Seagulls, the Junior Titans System (JTS) players celebrated victory after beating the Townsville Blackhawks 30 points to 24 in the state final.
Titans Elite Player Development Manager Jamie McCormack says it was a great result for those involved.
"Credit to all our players and especially to Tweed Head coach Tim McCann and his coaching staff for an outstanding season," McCormack said.
"Our JTS players all played a big part in the victory and our supporters should be excited with the talent that is coming through our junior program at the moment.
"From a Titans development point of view, having our players play in a strong competition like the Mal Meninga Cup is a massive bonus.
"Having the boys play against the best that QLD has to offer is of real benefit to their individual development and in a small way prepare them for the pressure of Intrust Super Cup and the NRL in the future.
"There could have been another JTS player in the game, with Jack Cullen, the competition’s leading metre-eater, controversially suspended for a “probable crusher tackle” in the Seagulls semi-final win against Wynnum.
Seagulls Captain and halfback Tom Weaver said his side was determined to win for Cullen.
“We set a goal at the start of the year to be the team in the competition that improved the most every game and we really put in the whole performance in the grand final when it mattered the most.
“I’d like to thank one bloke in particular, our starting front-rower Jack Cullen. He has been our stand-out player all season but got denied an opportunity to play here today. We wrote it on all our wrists to play for Cully today and I think we did him proud.
"We knew we were going to be in in it until the 70th minute and if we just grinded it out then we would be there at the end to win the game.
"The game physicality was very high and it was probably the most intense game I've ever played."
Photo credit: Ian Hitchcock