Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

After Months of Planning It's Here; How a Simple Suggestion from a Local Businessman Lured the Titans to Town

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

After Months of Planning It's Here; How a Simple Suggestion from a Local Businessman Lured the Titans to Town

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Harris matthew.harris@gladstoneobserver.com.au

TWO mates sitting on a couch watching footy together was all it took for the Gladstone NRL idea to be conceived.

Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett and Ocean Tyres owner Lance Backer sat beer in hand with their feet up before Lance made a remark that would kick start our NRL adventure.

"Lance and I were watching footy, a Titans game, and he said 'you know they've got to move next year and won't be able to play at Cbus (Stadium)? - they have to move because the Commonwealth Games are on'," Cr Burnett said.

"I said 'really? where are they going?' and he said 'well I don't think they even know yet, they could come to Gladstone - so that's where it began.

"He asked whether we can do it and I said of course, we can we just need to start the conversation.

"If they're getting booted out then the state government will have to compensate them for moving.

"What we did then was, I met with some officials at the Titans and asked what we'd have to do to get the Titans to come to Gladstone next year when they get kicked out for the Commonwealth Games.

"They said we were actually the first people to come to them - the conversations from there went backwards and forwards and then I had a conversation with Titans CEO Graham Annesley and went down and met with him and asked him what we had to do.

"He said they'd come up and check us out and from there the rest is history."

Lance's version of events is similar to those of the Mayor.

"I suggested to Matt they'll have some away games because of the (Commonwealth) Games and said I'd to take him down to a game and introduce him to the Titans management," he said.

"We set up a meeting with Titans management and Matt did the rest.

"Because I'm a foundation member I suggested it to him, he came down for a couple of games as a guest and I introduced him to Graham Annesley and the major players and he ran with it.

"He did all the hard work after that - it's a credit to Matt in my opinion - he bided against Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Mackay.

"There was a fair bit involved apparently and very tenaciously, like a fox terrier, he pulled it off and here we are. …

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