The Gold Coast-Tweed football club didn’t last long. Known by four different names – the Giants from 1988-98, then the Seagulls, the Gladiators and finally the Giants – they have had some big names that together form a nice team.
1. Dale Shearer
20 caps for Australia, 26 caps for Queensland
A classy outside back who used his pace to score many tries for state and country. He was like a mercenary, playing for six clubs, and was a star signing for the Seagulls. He excelled in many different positions in the backs.
2. Neil Hunt
Three caps for NSW
Overshadowed in the Eels champion backline of the 1980s, Hunt moved to the Gold Coast and had a really nice season in 1988.
3. Graham Mackay
One cap for Australia, four caps for NSW
He was one the rare players to be drafted and deliver some sort of success. He played like an additional forward, as he had strength many centres don’t have, plus he could kick goals as well. He captained Gold Coast in the final two years of the club’s existence.
4. Adrian Vowles
One cap for Queensland; Man of Steel winner
Vowles had an impressive rookie season for the Seagulls, named clubman of the year and then later earning a call-up to the Queensland State of Origin squad. He started as a bench player and was elevated to starting centre at year’s end.
5. Chris Close
Nine caps for Queensland
He was man of the match in the first-ever State of Origin. He could really get into his opponents – slapping the back of Eric Grothe’s head was a fine example of the type of competitor he was. His experience was key to the newly founded Seagulls. He later became a member of Queensland coaching staff.
6. Wally Lewis
34 caps for Australia, 34 caps for Queensland; five-eighth of the year, Golden Boot winner, Immortal
An out-and-out genius and a wizard of the field, Lewis had the body shape to play as a lock but a brain, a kicking game and ball skills. He could throw 20 metres-plus for cutout passes. His eight man of the match awards in State of Origin and abrasive attitude towards New South Wales made him the epitome of an Origin player.
His later years at the Seagulls weren’t his best, but he was still good enough to be picked for Australia. He didn’t perform at the tantalisingly high level he did in the Brisbane Rugby League, but he was still a damn good player
7. Ben Ikin
Two caps for Australia, 17 caps for Queensland
His best asset was his mind and calmness under pressure. He became the youngest Origin player in history in his rookie season with the Seagulls and was part of the 1995 Maroons shock 3-0 series win. Maroons coach Paul Vautin didn’t even know who Ikin was and thought he was a fan when he showed up at training!
8. Martin Bella
Nine caps for Australia, 21 caps for Queensland; prop of the year winner
He looked like the local pizza guy and without much extravagance to his game, Bella would just put his head down and run and tackle as hard as possible. He was the type of player any coach would enjoy having, as he did all the hard yards and didn’t make a fuss.
9. Jamie Goddard
Four caps for Queensland
Captaining the team in the Chargers era, Goddard was a tireless worker who provided reliable dummy-half service. Has the most caps for the Gold Coast and was part of the team that won their maiden semi-final. He was most famous for his fight with Andrew Johns, knocking him out and causing him to get 27 stitches.
10. Brent Todd
28 caps for New Zealand
He was a great athlete who represented New Zealand in both rugby league and water polo. An uncompromising player, Todd was rock-solid in defence. He would roll his sleeves up and was a workhorse.
11. Phil Daley
Three caps for Australia, three caps for NSW
A tall player, he had some really good seasons. Daley was centre of an all-in brawl in State of Irigin, which was the catalyst for Lang Park being smothered in beer cans from the vocal Queensland fans. He was unceremoniously sacked from the New South Wales camp for seeing his pregnant wife.
12. Jeremy Schloss
Three caps for Queensland
He was one of the better players in a struggling Gold Coast side. Schloss was a key contributor in Gold Coast’s shock semi-final triumph. Just make sure Julian O’Neil isn’t anywhere close to his shoes.
13. Bon Linder
24 caps for Australia, 26 caps for Queensland; second-rower of the year
He was scorer of the most tries in State of Origin for a forward. Linder was a nomad who never found a home. He won multiple man of the matches, a rarity for a lock. His stint with the Gold Coast was short, but there was a noticeable difference when he was on the field.
Darryl Powell, Wayne Bartim, Billy Johnstone and Mike McLean.
This team has ample Origin experience despite being only 11 seasons old. They have some serious strike power. Chris Close will be a hulking handful to tackle. Shearer will be dynamic up the middle and his pace will create problems. Linder is a true game-breaker and will be a great complement to the two tough props in Bella and Todd, who will make them very formidable defensively.
Billy Johnstone will pack a punch off the bench if you know what I mean. Ikin won’t have to be the dominant half, which would allow him to use his running game.
The star is obviously Wally Lewis. His presence makes them a chance to beat any team. He will increase the play of all his players around him, and his leadership just brings confidence.
Gold Coast-Tweed will have some real star names and can be threatening in the all-time teams tournament.