Saturday, 17 February 2018

Gold Coast Titans are the Real NRL Champions

Last night, the Melbourne Storm represented the NRL in the World Club Championship against English Super League champions Leeds Rhinos. They won 38-4 to become world club champions

There is one problem with this. The Storm aren't even the real Australian club champions.

Because the Gold Coast Titans are the real NRL champions. Here's how...
The true pride of the National Rugby League

Last year I unveiled the rugby league championship belt.
There it is, the perfect combination of leather and shininess.
The idea is that a team was crowned the footy champion, way back at the beginning of the first Australian rugby league season in 1908. When they lose their opponent earns a title match the next time the teams play. If they lose a second time, we have a new champion.

Through this method, I traced the champions up to Melbourne in early 2017, and noted their next challenge against Cronulla.

Cronulla had earned their right to challenge for the belt by winning the 2016 Grand Final, then won the title match 11-2 in Round 6, 2017. The title change involved one strong team beating another strong team. That tends to be how the championship lineage rolls.

But there are blips.

Like that the Gold Coast Titans beat Cronulla in round 8 last season, then beat them again in Round 19, to take the title to Surfers Paradise for the first time ever. 

The Giants, the Seagulls, the Chargers... they couldn't do it, but the Titans are the champs!

And they have lost every match since beating the reigning premiers consecutively. This has set up a gauntlet of seven potential title matches for the 2018 season.

The matches are:

  • Round 3, Sun 25 March, vs Dragons at Clive Berghofer Stadium*, Toowoomba. 4pm (Ch9)
  • Round 4, Sun 1 April, vs Broncos at Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) - 630pm
  • Round 6, Sun 15 April, vs Panthers at Panthers Stadium, 2pm
  • Round 12, Sat 26 May, vs Roosters at Central Coast Stadium, 3pm
  • Round 15, Sat 16 Jun, vs Bulldogs at Belmore Park, 3pm
  • Round 16, Sun 1st July, vs Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, 2pm
  • Round 21, Sat 4th Aug, vs Eels at Cbus Super (Robina) Stadium, 530pm

Based on the list I'd say the Dragons or Broncos are the next champs, but it would also be amazing to see the Titans get through this gauntlet.

*Clive Berghofer Stadium is also known as the Toowoomba Sports Ground, which is infamous for once having its main stand named the 'N*gger' Brown stand. Edwin Stanley Brown was a top local footy player in the 1920s, apparently lovingly known as N*gger to his mates. They named the stand after him in the 1960s. I'd say the stand name was removed because we live in more enlightened times, but it took a 10 year campaign for the name to fall out of use with the stadium rebuild in 2008.

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