Confusion over McQueen player number
With the NRL's most prominently placed player number tattooed into his neck, there has been confusion over the player number assigned to new Titan Chris McQueen ahead of his club debut on Sunday.
Player number 1070 for the Rabbitohs, in a unique coincidence McQueen was heralded as Titan No.107 when he was named in the back row on Tuesday but the late inclusion of fellow Rabbitohs recruit John Olive raised questions as to whether that would stand.
With the withdrawal of William Zillman due to a calf injury on Saturday morning Titans coach Neil Henry moved David Mead to fullback, opening the way for Olive to be rushed in onto the wing just four days after his move from South Sydney was officially registered.
While under methods used by some clubs that would see McQueen pushed back to player No.108, since inception the Titans have assigned player numbers based on the jersey number, allowing McQueen to retain No.107 for his next piece of ink.
Olive's club number will be dependent on whether Leivaha Pulu makes his NRL debut from the bench. If Pulu does play, he will be Titan No.108 and Olive – wearing jersey No.20 – will become the 109th player to represent the Titans.
In addition to their Titans player number, McQueen, Olive, Pulu, Nathan Davis, Tyrone Roberts, Ashley Taylor, David Shillington and Zeb Taia also join the list of players to have represented Gold Coast teams in first grade.
Inaugural Gold Coast Giants captain Billy Johnston was given the honour of the No.1 player number with Taia becoming the 300th when he takes to the field on Sunday.
The unique aspect to the assigning of player numbers is that there is not a standardised way of doing it across all 16 clubs, rather each club is expected to use whatever method they prefer but apply it consistently.
Greg Eden became the 219th Brisbane Broncos representative on Thursday night against the Eels while on Friday night, the Bulldogs' method of going alphabetically saw interchange forward Adam Elliott named the 767th Bulldogs player and fullback William Hopoate player No. 768.
When teams were announced on Tuesday as many as 22 players were in line to make their NRL debuts with the Titans' opponents on Sunday, the Newcastle Knights, naming a club record five first-timers.
Since their inception in 1988 the Knights have assigned club playing numbers on the basis of alphabetical order with second-rower David Boyd claiming the honour of player No.1 ahead of Tony Butterfield (No.2).
Nathan Ross became the 262nd Knight in Round 21 last year and will be succeeded in Round 1 by David Bhana (263), Jaelen Feeney (264), Trent Hodkinson (265), Pat Mata'utia (266), Pauli Pauli (267), Daniel Saifiti (268) and Jacob Saifiti (269).
Some clubs in the past have altered the course of history by changing player numbers, such as Parramatta who made their first captain in 1947 Bob Andrews player No.1 only to change it at a later date to Keith Gersbach, the first player the Eels ever signed.