June 4 2011 could be described as one of the most amazing days that I’ve been involved in as a Panthers supporter since the ’03 Grand Final.
Right from the outset, Robina Tavern and in particular duty manager Michael made George, Sunny Modi and I welcome and accommodating. It was a warm day and the outdoor setting made the afternoon relaxing. As for numbers, speaking to some of my members up here they said the total who attended this time around surpassed last year’s record set at Robina Tavern.
Snoopy Collins spoke to the fans just after 2pm talking about the game, the little things we need to get right at the half way point to be contenders and the impact of Gus Gould on the team since he joined the club.
This was shortly followed by Scott Sattler who says he’s still a Panther at heart and analysed the game which he thought the Panthers would win. He also shared a nice story about his framed photo’s of ‘that tackle’ asked by one of our supporters Nick. Apparently Todd Byrne got 5 of the framed photos, and all of them ended up in pieces!
Around 3pm the crowd started to gather around one man – affectionately known as the Duke Of Penrith. Everyone wanted a photo with him. Gus Gould then jumped on stage and paid tribute to outgoing CEO Mick Leary, told the supporters about what changes are being made and commended the professionalism of Matt Elliott saying motivation was no problem despite being on the outer at the season’s end. He was afraid to talk about Origin in enemy territory. And as for the coach – he confirmed something like 25 resume’s had been submitted and he’s working through them. He said they’re no way Andrew Voss is going to be coaching us next year (which was a relief!).
I am hearing so many positive stories from Panther fans who made the trip up about Gus getting out there and lifting the spirits of the fans and the club overall.
The pre-match ended just after 4pm and sadly the mini bus was overwhelmingly popular so some people did get delayed but I hope you all got there before kickoff.
The match ended up in the right result – tries down the Away Supporters end in the second half to Purtell and Burns were greeted by a lot of celebrating from the Panther fans. The Titans Away Supporters Blackhole led by the Sydney faithful got the chants going and made for a great night to sit together united.
A fantastic gesture by the club to have the players at the end of the game thank the fans with Petero, Bell, Timmy Grant amongst those coming right over to the fence and joining in the celebrations.
Comments about the pre-match flowed in during the afternoon focusing on the interview with Gould and how well the functions were run. If only this could be replicated in Sydney with the amount of numbers, this club could have a wonderful ‘army’ of fans.
The functions first started from an Interstate point of view back in 2009 on a hot Sunday afternoon where we got punted by the Broncos. Before hand, my supporters group had tried to have pre-matches which only resulted in a few supporters attending. The vision that Shaun Mielekamp had to set up the functions, carried on by George Nour this year have not only united Panther fans in Queensland but bought the team closer to the Interstate members in particular. For George and myself, the day for planning this event has been in the making from pretty much after the Broncos game and thankfully the hard work paid off with a great event and great result on the scoreboard.
The greatest asset about these functions is that Sydney Panther fans are getting to know the Queensland fans and this bond will continue to grow for years to come. I remember how fractured we were that first pre-match in 2009 but things are starting to happen now!
When you have board members including the Chairman attending it sends a positive message about the club. I thank them for attending both the Brisbane and Gold Coast pre-match events.
A big thank you to the 200+ supporters who not only made the Titans Legion look ordinary in size but also in noise.