Coffs NRL trial will be clash of Titans
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WHEN the Gold Coast Titans officially burst onto the National Rugby League scene next year, Coffs Harbour's league fans will be the first people to get to see them play.
The Titans have confirmed that their debut trial match will be on Saturday, February 17, when they face 2006 minor premiers Melbourne Storm at the Coffs Coast International Stadium.
The fact that the Storm will be the Titans' first opponents is an added bonus for locals for two reasons.
First and foremost, it gives an opportunity for State Of Origin hero and star Melbourne backline player Greg Inglis to return home and put on a show in front of the Bowraville people who set his stellar career in motion during Inglis' junior days.
Secondly the match is sure to have more feeling in it than any usual trial match thanks to the simmering tensions that exist between the two clubs as they both fight for the signature of Steve Turner for the 2007 season.
Titans' communications manager Jason Sintome says that the club can't wait to play their first ever trial match in Coffs Harbour.
"The Coffs Council approached us originally with an invitation to host a trial game and we were only too happy to gratefully accept," he said.
"It's certainly a catchment area for the Titans and while we're going to be playing a lot of home games on the Gold Coast, it's great to be taking pre-season games to towns that don't usually host an NRL match.
"I spoke with the coaching staff the other day and I know that they're very excited to be coming down."
Sintome was quick to add that the Gold Coast's visit will be anything but fleeting. The club is keen to again be part of the Orara Valley 7's tournament but the big bonus for the area will come after the Storm match.
"After the match the team will be staying in Coffs for a week where we'll be having a camp," he added.
"We'll spend that week training and we'll also be inviting the outstanding and identified young talent in the area to train with us.
"At the end of the week we'll then go up to Lismore for our trial against Parramatta."
An official launch for the match which will outline ticket sales and prices will be conducted late in the year by the Coffs Harbour Sports Unit.