Gold Coast unites in support of Titans
Members from all four incarnations of first grade teams from the Gold Coast will for the first time form a guard of honour for the current Titans squad in a new initiative dubbed 'From Giants to Titans'.
Around 50 former players from the Giants, Seagulls, Chargers and Titans will unite at Cbus Super Stadium for Sunday's clash with the Dragons as the Titans seek to forge stronger bonds with Gold Coast's history in the ARL and NRL competitions.
The Gold Coast Old Boys formed in 2007 upon the entry of the Titans into the NRL competition but no formal ties with the Titans were ever established until now.
Robert Simpkins, a member of the inaugural Giants team in 1988 and whose son Ryan is a member of the current Titans squad, said it was a great way to connect with history and help to build a positive culture within the club.
"You look at Souths and St George, Parramatta, they've all got that history and it takes time to build," Simpkins said.
"We've been trying to get this going for a while now. We're keen to get more people involved in it and have it filter through the Chargers era, the Seagulls era and to get involved with the Titans."
Sneaking up on 100 games for the club having moved from the Sharks in 2012, Titans forward Luke Douglas said it was important to forge that connection with the past in order to build future success.
"I'm a big believer in the history of the club and not only the Titans but all the Gold Coast teams before the Titans," Douglas said.
"It's good to have them all there and have them all supporting us. They're going to make a guard of honour for us to run out of so it's pretty special.
"Now that we're combining all the previous team names we're on the right path. It's good to have that history and hopefully it brings some good culture to the club."
While the Giants and then the Seagulls struggled to establish a foothold in the premier rugby league competition, the Chargers were financially viable when they became a victim of rationalisation following the Super League war.
But Peter Gill knows better than most how tough the Gold Coast market has been to win over since the inception of the Giants in 1988.
After 71 games for the Dragons, Gill played 67 games for the Seagulls between 1992-95 and also worked in the club's marketing and sponsorship department which was just as tough an assignment as winning games on the field.
"It was tough. We were trying to get Jeep on board and we nearly had them signed, sealed and delivered and they pulled the pin at the last minute," Gill told NRL.com.
"We never really had a major sponsor and it's been tough for a long time on the Gold Coast.
"It is tough but the boys have just got to win. If they start winning people will start following them again.
"Everyone loves a winner and if you're winning games every week you're going to be in the grand final.
"I think Neil Henry and Terry Matterson are doing a great job and they're getting some quality players with some young kids coming through so I reckon they're on the right track.
"You don't look for a pat on the back or anything but it will be good to be recognised [on Sunday].
"I go down to the St George reunions every year and they're a great, traditional club. Here, they haven't done anything yet but in a couple of years who knows what might happen.
"I just hope they can win a grand final and then everyone will follow them."