Jemma Elder has a love of rugby league.
The Titans newest board member grew up it a football loving family and the game has run through her veins ever since.
“My family’s passion for rugby league runs so deep it’s hard to remember a weekend without football,” Elder said.
“My father played league at Brothers St Marks before joining Souths Magpies in club administration.
“When the Brisbane Broncos joined the NSWRL premiership in 1988, he became Team Manager, so Red Hill and Lang Park were like a second home.”
Now a proud Titans supporter, Elder says it was Davies Park in Brisbane where her first memories of the game were formed.
“We grew up watching rugby league,” Elder said.
“My younger sister and I spent many an afternoon on the Davies Park hill in Brisbane's West End cheering on rugby league greats.”
Alongside husband Gorden, Elder says she is more passionate than ever about the game and is now determined to make a difference as part of the Titans.
“I love that the Titans, and the NRL, strive to bring families together whether it’s playing the game, attending a game, or commentating from the couch.
“I’m particularly passionate about building on the NRL’s diversity and inclusion focus in rugby league.
“The Gold Coast Titans is truly a community club when you consider initiatives like the NRL Women’s competition, our stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, Physical and Intellectual Disability Teams, the Titans Cultural Collective group, junior rugby league and the Titans Schools program.
“These are programs that really connect with people.
“I have enormous respect for the Frizelle and Kelly families, their passion for rugby league, their love of the Gold Coast, and their unwavering commitment to build the club into an NRL powerhouse firmly anchored in the community.
“It is important we continue to honour the community that made the Titans and expand our support base on the Gold Coast and into northern New South Wales.
“I’m keen to build an environment where young kids, including my own children, aspire to become a Titan. That’s the vision I have when I think of giving back to a game that has so influenced me and my family.”
Elder credits Titans co-owner and long-time board member Rebecca Frizelle as someone who has been a trail blazer for women in leadership, particularly in rugby league.
“As the first female chair of an NRL club and the joint owner of the team, she leads by example and certainly isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo,” Elder said.
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Rebecca personally and professionally and admire her tenacity.
“She has an incredible wit and a humility that encourages a great team culture.”
This season the Titans join the NRLW competition, meaning girls from the Gold Coast region now have a pathway from junior footy to the professional game.
It’s something that Elder says is not just an important step, but crucial for the growth of the game.
“Its historic for the club and it something the Titans have been working towards for years - women’s rugby league is the fastest growing segment of NRL,” Elder said.
The Gold Coast is home to some of the best female athletes in the country, and it’s exciting to see the region now has a pathway from juniors to elite competition.
“It’s important that we make a strong start in women’s NRL where, if we’re honest, there’s still resistance in some quarters. Our promising female players are going to look to both women and men who lead by example and champion change for future generations.
“For the Titans, that means young girls can aspire to be the next Karina Brown, Georgia Hale, Tazmin Gray, Crystal Tamarua or Brittany Breayley-Nati or assistant to Head Coach, Tahnee Norris.
“It’s exciting to see the Gold Coast come into its own, vying for a top eight finish this season as the only Queensland team to do so, just as the Titans kick off their inaugural season in the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership in October.”
Celebrating the NRL’s Women In League round, Elder says the game has come a long way and it makes her excited for the future.
“Future generations will now have the choice to be the next David Fifita or the next Karina Brown, or perhaps even the first female NRL coach” she said.
There are so many opportunities to grow the sport over the next decade, in the environment of preparing for the 2032 Olympics.
When teams take to the field this round, we celebrate the invaluable contribution women are making to this game – not just the players but administrators, volunteers, officials, women commentators, club members and fans. ”