Tweed and Capras set the stage
While growing up in Coffs Harbour, we'd make an annual pilgrimage to Sydney – to not only visit family, but get our yearly fix of top-class footy in the flesh.
We'd rendezvous with our cousins most often on the hill at Leichhardt Oval, but it was far more than an 80-minute get-together.
Because of how little exposure we had to our heroes outside of watching them do battle through the TV, we'd get there at 11am to watch President's Cup, reconnect with players we'd only read about in the team list pages in Big League in reserve grade at 1pm and then fire right up for the emergence of the first-graders at 3pm.
It was a full day of entertainment, but society and sport has changed to the point where in the not-too-distant future the main game might in fact be the only game.
On Saturday evening (5.45pm to be precise) Tweed Heads will host the Central Queensland Capras not at their spiritual home at Piggabeen Sports Complex, but at Cbus Super Stadium as the curtain-raiser to the Titans v Cowboys NRL clash.
According to Seagulls CEO Scott Clark (the former football manager at the Titans), this is the first time that either Tweed or Burleigh have played prior to a Titans game and it is the only time Intrust Super Cup clubs will feature ahead of an NRL game this year.
Of course, the natural order will be restored somewhat next year when the Under 20s competition becomes aligned with the state-based competitions in both Queensland and New South Wales, but it is unclear how that will impact any potential curtain-raisers prior to NRL games.
The assumption would be that Intrust Super Cup clubs and their Under 20s teams would play at venues away from the NRL fixtures, but Clark is hopeful the opportunity for affiliated clubs to share the big stage will remain in some capacity from 2018 onwards.
“I thought that with the NYC finishing up at the end of this year that we could test the water in terms of playing a game or two prior to a Titans game," Clark said.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity for our players to play before our affiliate team and get our boys on the bigger stage.
“If it goes all right then perhaps the Titans will consider doing it a couple of times next year.
“The players that the Titans don't need each week are coming back to us, so why not put on a game where the fans can see where these guys actually play each week?”
The irony in Tweed Heads playing prior to a Titans game this weekend is that due to the injury toll currently being endured by the Gold Coast, there may not be any Titans-contracted players actually turning out for Seagulls.
Leivaha Pulu, Ryan Simpkins and Daniel Vidot are all expected to play for the Titans, Morgan Boyle needs a final concussion clearance to be allowed to play and Kurt Bernard, Karl Lawton and Ben Nakubuwai are all currently on the injured list.
With the current inclusion of the Holden Cup, the NRL is one of the last remaining elite-level sports that feature a curtain-raiser to the main event on a weekly basis and it will be fascinating to see whether that concept lives on in 2018 and in what form.
Did you know? with Tony Webeck
The Sunshine Coast Falcons have to defy quite a lengthy history in order to record a win over the Jets at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
The Falcons have never come away from Ipswich with a win and have, in total, lost their past nine clashes against the club. If Ben Walker and Shane Walker can inflict another defeat, we might be nearing hoodoo territory.
A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.