Titans winning little hearts and breaking big ones
NATIONAL Rugby League made a winning return to the Gold Coast on Monday night, capturing a whole new generation of fans, as well as more than a few older supporters.
Having been at several media launches for the Giants during my work experience years and worked at the paper during the Seagulls and Chargers eras, I thought I had seen this all before ? I hadn't!
Carrara was packed to the rafters and I have never seen so much blue and gold in one place or so many female league supporters.
My companion for the evening to see my team, the Cronulla Sharks, play the Titans was my seven-year-old daughter.
With me working every Sunday it means Miss Seven is often at home with Dad ? a rabid Rabbitohs supporter. She knows about league and was at her first game at four or five.
Back then, she amazed all Dad's mates by watching the action and asking a million questions while their sons ran around playing.
I had the consolation that at least the Sharks were her second team.
But not any more!
In the lead-up to the game, my daughter dressed in as much blue, black and white as she could find, but I knew I was in trouble when we got to the ground and felt the atmosphere and excitement.
"I think the Titans can be my third team," she said after it was explained that the team had strong ties, through boss Michael Searle and others, back to the Tweed.
She watched in awe as the teams took to the ground, still bravely confirming that the Sharks were the team she was supporting.
I looked around thinking she might be a rare site ? a little girl at the league, but she wasn't. There were almost as many little girls as boys ? many of them in fan jumpers ? lots of full family groups (including mum) and plenty of female supporters.
Then, just a few minutes in, it happened ? I lost my little girl to the Titans forever.
Personally I blame the cheer girls and Preston Campbell.
The moment the Titanettes danced and did their acrobatics in front of us and cheered "let's go Titans, let's go," my little girl was hooked.
She doesn't play league but she likes dancing ? it hadn't occurred to her that you could dance at the league.
And then the tries came and the crowd cheered and chanted.
By the time Preston Campbell crossed the line for his match-winning miracle try ? she was leading the crowd in our section and doing her own cheers. I was sunk and she was a convert.
"Sorry mum, I'm from the region ? I'm going to support the Titans and Bunnies now, you understand don't you?" she said trying to comfort me after my double loss.
And then, leaving Carrara, she spotted the Titans merchandise.
"You know mum, my Rabbitohs jumper is getting a bit tight," she piped up hopefully.
If my husband's smart, he won't take her to see the Titans play the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the long weekend in May for round 11, or he could lose her too!