The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans’ ongoing commitment to the Northern Rivers region will continue next year, with the club gearing up to play a full-scale NRL trial match at Lismore’s Oakes Oval.
Following on from the success of the club’s 2007 trial match in Lismore against Parramatta, the Jetstar Titans will tackle 2005 NRL premiers the Wests Tigers in their final hit-out of the pre-season at Oakes Oval on Saturday, February 28.
The two clubs will clash for the second annual Larry Corowa Shield – named in honour of the Indigenous rugby league star who was born in Murwillumbah and played for both the Gold Coast Seagulls and Balmain during his rugby league career.
In the build-up to the trial match, Jetstar Titans players will also be conducting rugby league coaching clinics and promotional visits in Lismore.
Tickets for the clash will go on sale from 9am tomorrow and can be purchased through the Lismore Workers Club, either in person or by calling 02 6621 7401. Tickets range in price from $10 for juniors to $30 for grandstand seating.
The last Jetstar Titans’ trial match played in Lismore was attended by a capacity crowd of more than 8000 and organisers are urgings fans to pre-purchase tickets early as next year’s match is again expected to draw a sell-out crowd.
Murwillumbah Mustangs junior and Australian international Anthony Laffranchi, who will feature in an advertising campaign in the lead-up to the trial, said he was excited to again be playing in the Northern Rivers region.
“As a boy who grew up in Murwillumbah, you always relished the opportunity to see an NRL team run around on a country field, so it’s going to be a great opportunity for the locals and the fans to watch the Titans and Tigers play,’’ said Laffranchi.
“The fans down there (last time) were fantastic and the support we had was second to none. It’s always good to see northern NSW get behind the Jetstar Titans.
“It’s a great honour to play for the Larry Corowa Shield. Larry is an icon within the Northern Rivers, having been a part of Balmain and the Gold Coast as well.’’
Laffranchi won’t be the only homegrown hero to take the field in Lismore, with emerging Kyogle talents Will Matthews and Shannon Walker both strong chances to be a part of the full-strength squad picked by Jetstar Titans coach John Cartwright for the trial.
“We’ve got a lot of boys in our club now from the Northern Rivers, so it’s a good chance to give them something back,’’ said Cartwright. “As far as the trial is concerned it will be a full dress-rehearsal for the first game (round 1) against Newcastle.
“Everyone who is 100 per cent fit will play that day, both our feeder clubs are playing down there in Ipswich and the (Tweed Heads) Seagulls so it’ll be a great day if you’re a Titans supporter.’’
On the other side of the fence, the Wests Tigers also have a host of stars to select from including star five-eighth Benji Marshall and hooker Robbie Farah.
Cartwright said the Jetstar Titans held fond memories of Lismore, dating back to the club’s first ever full-scale trial match against Parramatta in the pre-season of 2007 – which the Gold Coast won 22-10.
Although the Lismore trial was in-fact the club’s second trial match, following a historic first appearance at Coffs Harbour, it was the first hit-out for the Titans’ full-strength side.
“It was a tremendous atmosphere,’’ said Cartwright. “It was probably a little bit surreal from our point of view because it was basically our first run-out in Titans gear and no one really knew what to expect. We’d done a lot of training but hadn’t put it together on the football field.
“So in that regard it was very exciting — the players did their lap after the game, the crowd all hung around and cheered them off, it was a great atmosphere and I think this time it should be even better.’’
Jetstar Titans managing director Michael Searle said the club was pleased to again be taking a pre-season trial match to fans who may not be able to attend games on the Gold Coast.
“We have a great relationship with the NRRRL, Group 1 juniors and Group 18 juniors, so it’s a chance for us to get down there and do some great work in the community and also allow our fans that may not be able to get to competition games at Skilled Park to come along to an event,’’ said Searle.
“We took our first game there in 2007 and it was really well received – the fans absolutely loved it and it was a sell-out. It was quite an emotional day for everyone. I think there were a lot of nerves about how the team would go and whether we’d perform credibly.
“The boys did really well that day and I think from there we’ve continued to improve. Since we were down there last our football side has certainly come ahead in leaps and bounds.’’
- TICKETS ON SALE – 9am on Wednesday, December 10
- WHERE – In person at Lismore Workers Club or phone 02 6621 7401
- PRICING – Grandstand Tickets: $30 (limited numbers available), General Admission: Adult $20, Concession $15, Junior $10.