The Queensland Reds are yet to play a game this year but already their fans are in the full swing of adoration, with 7,000 turning out to the annual Fan Day at Ballymore on Saturday.
The Reds highly-anticipated preseason event lived up to its reputation with thousands of passionate fans filling the spiritual home ground for their chance to meet the Reds ahead of their Super Rugby season opener against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night.
For two hours the Reds Army got up close and personal with the entire Reds playing group, who ensured all their supporters walked away satisfied after signing autographs, posing for photos and taking part in an event filled with exciting activities and plenty of entertainment.
Former Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell was put through her paces during a training session with some of the team, while flyhalf Quade Cooper chatted to fans and answered questions about his Friday night boxing debut in Brisbane.
2013 marks a special year for rugby in Queensland; in November it will be 130 years since Queensland Rugby was formed and there will be a number of festivities throughout the year to celebrate this milestone.
An exclusive rugby fan cruise to France and a monument at Suncorp Stadium are planned for later in the year, while archivists at the club are busy collating every piece of Queensland rugby history they can find.
Archivist Ian Smith said the club’s history was part of what made the Reds so special and so beloved by its fans.
“If you don’t reflect the history of where you’ve been, you’ve got no soul in the club,” he said.
Mr Smith, along with fellow archivist Donald Smillie, is currently knee-deep in researching the history of the Reds, collecting memorabilia and collating player lists dating back to 1882.
They are keen to get their hands on any memorabilia that anyone may have from the 1970s, when a lot of the paperwork and treasured items were lost in the 1974 floods.
“That historical link is so important in moving the club forward. By being able to look back and acknowledge our past, we can see how far we’ve come and know rugby has got such a bright future,” Mr Smith said.