The National Rugby League’s (NRL) annual Indigenous Round has become a much anticipated staple of the sport’s calendar over recent years.
Some of the biggest names the game has ever produced have been of Indigenous heritage, from the likes of Arthur Beetson and Laurie Daley to the more recent careers of Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis.
The NRL Indigenous Round gives us a chance to celebrate the vast contributions that Australia’s Indigenous Community have made to the great game of rugby league, while also highlighting the significant social issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Gold Coast holds some of the nation’s most profound Indigenous history, and indeed boasts strong and unique ties between the Indigenous community and rugby league.
The Gold Coast Titans perform outstanding work in this space with their Deadly Futures and School 2 Work programs, as well as their Reconciliation Action Plan and the pathways available to young Indigenous players in the region.
Throughout the Titans’ short history, we have seen them produce a number of fantastic Indigenous players, starting from the club’s very first signing of the great Preston Campbell in 2006. Preston went on to create the NRL’s Indigenous All Stars concept.
To celebrate the 2020 Indigenous Round, Sports Gold Coast have selected our Gold Coast Titans Indigenous Dream Team.
The selection process was certainly not easy, with a number of players available in every position, spanning the Titans’ inaugural 2007 season through to the current squad.
We think this team would certainly give the NRL Premiership a fair shake.
Sports Gold Coast’s – Titans Indigenous Dream Team
- Preston Campbell (c): There should be no doubt that ‘Presto’ is one of the greatest Indigenous players to ever lace a boot – a Dally M Medal winner in his pre-Titans career, his time on the Gold Coast brought some of the club’s greatest successes. Selected at Fullback, he was also an accomplished half in his 103 Titans appearances. His leadership and status as a spiritual leader also see Presto skipper our side.
- Josh Hoffman: Selected on the wing in our side, ‘Hoff’ also spent time in the centres and at fullback in his time at the Titans. A mainstay of the starting side in his 49 games for the club, the Indigenous All-Star and New Zealand national representative scored 14 tries with his great footwork and tackle-breaking ability.
- James Roberts: Blessed with some of the quickest feet in the history of the game, ‘Jimmy the Jet’ was a sight to behold when left in space on the turf of CBUS Stadium. Some of his individual brilliance single-handedly won games for the club, as he scored an astonishing 21 tries from just 36 games in Titans colours.
- Tyrone Roberts: While he is more at home in the halves, we’ve picked the versatile Tyrone in the centres for our Indigenous Dream Team. A natural leader and team-man, Tyrone’s value to the club is perhaps best shown by their intent to get him back after a short stint in the English Super League. He has rarely let the team down in 59 games, including 14 tries and 82 goals.
- Brian Kelly: The first of the current Titans’ brigade to make our Dream Team, Brian has been one of the club’s best over the last two seasons. A Titans junior and Northern Rivers local, he spent a couple of seasons at Manly before coming home in 2019 and having an immediate impact, already racking up 12 tries for the club.
- Ash Taylor: While many are quick to judge Ash on the club’s failures rather than its successes, some of his stats speak for themselves. He has consistently been among the top halves in the NRL for Try-Assists and Tries from Kicks since joining the Titans in 2016. He has also been forced to carry much of the expectations of Titans’ fans on his own shoulders across his 90 games for the club. An extremely gifted footballer, we are backing Ash to help guide the Titans back to the winning circle.
- Scott Prince: This one was simple – ‘Princey’ is arguably one of the Titans greatest players of all time. He rarely put a foot wrong in his 124 games for the club, also representing Queensland and Australia in this time. Princey is An NRL Legend with more than 300 first grade games to his name, guiding the Titans to their first ever finals appearances, including a preliminary final loss to the Roosters in 2010.
- Ryan James: The Titans’ longest serving player, the local product has been a mainstay and natural leader for the club over the last decade and 144 appearances. While Ryan’s last two seasons have been cruelled by injury, at his best he was one of the Titans most influential players on and off the field. His tally of 30 tries as a prop is astonishing and he’s been so close to representing NSW in State of Origin on a number of occasions.
- Nathan Peats: ‘Peatsy’ joined the club in 2016 courtesy of salary cap issues at Parramatta, and has since racked up 66 games in Titans colours. Known for his toughness and niggle around the ruck, Peatsy was rewarded for his consistency with the NSW Number 9 jersey for the 2017 series. Look for him to have a big finish to this season.
- Leilani Latu: A mountain of a man that came to the Titans with big wraps from Penrith in 2018. Unfortunately things never really clicked for him on the Coast, only appearing 9 times for the club before heading to the English Super League earlier this year. Leilani was an Indigenous All-Star and Tongan Representative.
- Tyrone Peachey: Another of the current playing group to get the nod for this team. On his day Peachey is one of the most electric and elusive players in the NRL. The NSW Origin Rep has has added some much needed spark and energy to the Titans side in recent times and often fills a Mr-Fix-It type role off the bench. His versatility is sometimes his biggest curse, however we’ve landed on him to fill an edge in the back row.
- Jamal Idris: Jamal was a sometimes polarising figure for the Titans, arriving at the club as a marquee signing in 2012. There’s no doubt that at his best he was one of the best ball-runners in the game, but injury and form issues often hampered his career. He did play some outstanding footy in his time at the club however, scoring 9 tries in 35 games. While he was typically a centre, we’ve utilised his big body as an edge running forward.
- Greg Bird: ‘Birdy’ was constantly one of the Titans best across his 6 years at the club. Known for his toughness and aggression, he quickly became a Titans fan favourite for his passion and playing ability. Birdy was an established half, even playing five-eighth for Australia during his career, however he arguably played his best footy as a ball-playing lock. He gave great service to the club across 129 games, including 17 tries and two match-winning field goals.
- Aidan Sezer: Unlucky to miss the starting team, Sezer was a consistent and calm head for the Titans during his 71 appearances for the club. Was the unfortunate casualty of the Daly Cherry-Evans saga that saw him end up in Canberra in 2016. Went on to come one game short of Grand Final glory with the Raiders last year.
- Kierran Moseley: The Cloncurry junior played 20 games for the Titans from 2015 to 2016, and also represented the Indigenous All-Stars in 2015. He offered good pace and service out of dummy half.
- Albert Kelly: Arguably one of the most dynamic players we’ve seen in Titans colours, Albert’s speed and footwork as a half had the ability to turn games. This might be best highlighted by his impressive 16 tries from 33 games for the Titans. Became one of the best players in the English Super League after leaving the club in 2015.
- Chris Grevsmuhl: Only played 4 games in his Titans career but was a gifted footballer, representing and scoring a try for the Indigenous All-Stars in 2015.
Have we got any selections wrong? Let us know on our socials!