THERE will be some special guests in the stands as William Zillman makes his first appearance of 2012 for the Gold Coast Titans in Mackay on Saturday.
His proud grandparents, Bill and Eileen Deicke, will travel from their home near Proserpine for the NRL trial match against the North Queensland Cowboys at Virgin Australia Stadium.
Zillman, 25, has recovered from a back injury to be included in the Titans outfit, which also includes recruits Jamal Idris, Nate Myles and Beau Champion.
However, Titans coach John Cartwright has given Luke Bailey and Ashley
Harrison a week's rest, while Greg Bird won't be fit until round one of the official season.
Cartwright said Zillman would share the five-eighth/fullback duties with Jordan Rankin throughout the trial match against the Cowboys after Rankin impressed in the No.6 jersey in the club's 18-16 win over the Broncos last weekend.
"He'll mix up his time a bit," Cartwright said.
"Rankin did a very good job at five-eighth against the Broncos so we'll split their time up and make a decision on who will play five-eighth in the first competition game after the trial.
"It's just a matter of him getting out on the field and spending time with his partners in crime."
Zillman's ties to Whitsunday don't end with his grandparents, with extended family also in the area.
His mother, Sandra, was born in
Proserpine and his father Mark played league for the Whitsunday Brahmans for a couple of years.
Eileen said she wasn't surprised when her grandson reached the NRL, after he'd always shown plenty of sporting prowess. "He's also very dedicated," she said.
Eileen said Zillman had been unlucky with injuries in the past but was hopefully in for a big season.