Titans prove a big hit at Wollumbin
By BOB ANTHONY
THE Gold Coast Titans may be months away from taking to the footy field, but they have already proved to be a huge hit with young fans on the Tweed.
Yesterday, Wollumbin High School hosted Titans players, Nathan Friend and Jake Webster who were special guests at a sausage sizzle following a coaching clinic conducted by the Titans and the Australian Rugby League.
Wollumbin High School teacher and rugby league co-ordinator Corey Topper said he had been eager to get the Titans to the school for some time and there was plenty of excitement among the students when they finally arrived.
The ARL coaching clinic put the students through their paces and there was no shortage of budding league players ready to test their skills.
Some Wollumbin students who showed their skills were right up to the mark were members of the victorious under-16 girls' league team which won the inaugural Girls' Tackle Gala Day on the Gold Coast. The event was supported by the Titans.
The Wollumbin team defeated Palm Beach-Currumbin and impressed many spectators, including Gold Coast football manager Scott Sattler, with their ball skills.
Yesterday, it was obvious that the fledgling NRL club would have plenty of young supporters south of the Tweed when they kicked off next year.
Both Titans players who attended the sausage sizzle ere sporting the signs of surgery ? Friend having an operation on his shoulder and Webster surgery to his wrist ? but that didn't stop them from signing autographs and posing for pictures with their Wollumbin fans.
Friend said it would be a few months before he could resume full training but expected to be right to go at the start next season.
His recovery has meant sitting out the gruelling pre-season training sessions which his teammates have been put through by head trainer Billy Johnston.
"From what the boys have been telling me, it's been pretty solid but any pre-season training is always tough," Friend said.
"What is important is that we have got the talent and we want to be fit and ready to go at the start of the season and that's what Billy is known for doing."
Webster said it was a far cry from having to endure the cold weather of his former club Melbourne.
"This is the first school I have visited but it's incredible," Webster said.
"Everyone is so enthusiastic about us and unlike Melbourne, they already know who we are and know about rugby league, so it's great.
"The move north for me, it means I'm a lot closer to my family and I can't wait to get into full training.
"I'm just doing some cycling at the moment but I'll be ready for the pre-season hopefully."
Webster said he had spoken to wayward Titans signing Steve Turner several times and was confident Turner would end up giving the Gold Coast a try.
"It's great up here and the vibe in the camp is very positive and I'm sure he would settle in once he got here and gave it a go."