Cub Sport's Sam Netterfield and Tim Nelson are two Queensland boys far from home, showing support for their NRL teams. | Picture supplied by Tim Nelson

“Normalize queer kissing!”

That was the call from Tim Nelson, lead singer of the band Cub Sport, in an interview last year.

He was talking to Rolling Stone about a photo taken of him with husband and bandmate Sam Netterfield at the Grammy Awards.

“Wild moment members of Aussie pop band Cub Sport passionately kiss on the Grammys red carpet,” read one headline that accompanied the image.

Nelson said he could only laugh at the suggestion their smooch was somehow “wild” because it’s as common for them as for any couple. “Honestly, we do kissing photos everywhere,” he said.

“I did not expect it to be presented as this… I can’t believe we’re saying that in 2023.”

One year on, Nelson and Netterfield are still more than happy to share a snap of them snogging.

Cub Sport has a big LGBTQ fanbase, with around 200,000 followers across social media and well over a million monthly listeners on streaming platforms.

The band’s most recent album, “Jesus At The Gay Bar,” topped the charts in Australia. And the photos they posted last weekend will go down very well with gay sports fans.

Nelson and Netterfield were enjoying some downtime in Lisbon, Portugal, while wearing shorts of the NRL rugby league teams they support — the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos.

Brisbane is their hometown and it’s where the band formed back in 2010. They were originally called “Cub Scouts” but had to change to Cub Sport after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Scouts Australia.

Nelson and keyboardist Netterfield had been best friends since their late teens but for almost a decade, in large part due to their strict religious upbringings, each denied their feelings for the other.

However, in the process of making the band’s third album, “Bats”, in 2017, they allowed themselves to fall in love — and the following year, they were married.

Lovers of Cub Sport are used to the band communicating LGBTQ themes through their music but their choice of shorts here also carries subtle meaning — a way to break down traditional concepts of masculinity connected with sports and fandom.

When Outsports reached out to the band, Nelson replied: “We love supporting our NRL boys!”

The Broncos were coming off the back of a narrow 13-12 victory over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (you may recall the Sea Eagles’ Pride jerseys controversy from 2022, when seven players refused to wear the shirts). 

“We definitely had to rep the Brisbane Broncos to celebrate their win over the weekend,” Nelson said.

“We’re Queensland boys and we’ll be repping both our home state teams, the Broncos and the Cowboys, over our euro summer 😉 ”

Nelson wrote in Gay Times in 2018 that he would tell his younger self that “it’s OK that you don’t really like sport”.

However, two years later the band was playing the AFL Grand Final at The Gabba — Australia’s equivalent of the Super Bowl — performing a memorably dreamy cover of “These Days,” a much-loved track by another Brisbane band, Powderfinger.

And these days? Well, whether working out shirtless in the gym or swimming in a Himalayan lake, there’s an admirable confidence about Nelson and Netterfield.

And the shorts? Just a cute connection back to Queensland — and a way to reclaim pride in sports too.