Titans join forces with NSW Northern Rivers region in historic deal

Titans join forces with NSW Northern Rivers region in historic deal

A look at the Gold Coast's all-time try-scoring lists is evidence enough that the NSW Northern Rivers region has been a productive nursery for the Titans.

Equal leaders on 67 tries are David Mead, the PNG-born utility back who joined the club from Lismore where he had lived since age 12, and Grafton's Anthony Don. Next on the ladder is Kevin Gordon who hailed from Sawtell (58 tries).

Then there are others who have come from Group 18 and Group 1 to be successful Titans in captain Ryan James, Anthony Laffranchi, Tyrone Roberts, Luke Douglas, Luke O'Dwyer and James Roberts.

Don, Douglas and Laffranchi have all won the Paul Broughton Medal as Titans' player of the year.

So it was an appropriate, and historic, announcement on Tuesday that the Northern Rivers representative teams in the Andrew Johns Cup (under-16) and Laurie Daley (under-18) Cup competitions, and the men's and women's under-23 teams will bear the name the Titans strip and be called the Northern River Titans from next year.

It is a formalised a type of relationship that has long been mooted in rugby league – NRL clubs being allocated designated regions in which they develop the game with expertise and a regular presence.

The Titan also have a link with the Toowoomba region.

David Mead scored 67 tries for the Titans between 2007-16.
David Mead scored 67 tries for the Titans between 2007-16.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Titans the Country Rugby League at the Titans High Performance Centre that formalises the ongoing strong relationship between the rich northern NSW league area and the Titans just over the Queensland border.

Part of the agreement see the Titans NRL coaching and development department staff provide support to players, coaches and trainers involved in the Northern Rivers CRL representative pathway through the creation of satellite programs and hosting of regular coaching updates.

The close bond will hopefully provide a dedicated pathway for Northern Rivers players through their nearest (geographically) NRL club and also provide a continued flow of talent to the Titans who have stated their future relies on being a "development club".

CRL East Coast regional area manager Kevin Hill believes the partnership is a great endorsement for rugby league in the Northern Rivers.

"The Gold Coast Titans have always been supportive of rugby league in the Northern Rivers and it's great to see the formalisation of their commitment to the region," said Hill.

"It's a huge benefit to our players, coaches and trainers to have an NRL club supporting their progression through the representative pathway and highlights the incredible opportunities that are available through the game in our region."

Gold Coast Titans CEO Graham Annesley said the announcement was a sign of the Titans' commitment to their local community and the next generation of talent from the Northern Rivers.

"We've always been committed to supporting our community and we're looking forward to working together with CRL to utilise our expertise and resources to provide the best pathway opportunities for players, coaches and trainers in the Northern Rivers," Annesley said.

In team news ahead of round 24, Garth Brennan has chosen the same side to play Melbourne at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday that was originally selected to take on Manly last Friday night.

Will Matthews has been listed on the bench with Bryce Cartwright, who was called in at the 11th hour to replace him against the Sea Eagles, in the squad of 21.