There is no doubt that 2014 was a career-defining season for brave little Titans hooker Beau Falloon.
The 27-year-old made his NRL debut for South Sydney in 2008 and headed to the Gold Coast for greater first grade opportunity after playing second fiddle to Rabbitohs’ Kiwi international Isaac Luke.
He formed a tandem combination with Matt Srama in 2012 and after eight appearances in that season (seven off the bench) and 17 last year (eight off the bench) he not only established himself as a fine starting hooker this season, but went to a new level with his achievements.
His 23 appearances (he missed one with injury) is a career best (he had 50 to his name before 2014) and his consistency saw him chosen for City Origin in May and be awarded with the Paul Broughton Medal in September as the Titans’ best player as judged by the coaching panel.
“I wanted to become a consistent first grader; that was my main goal,” Falloon reflects. “I wanted to be able to say I was consistent every week. It is all good and well to have a good game every three to four weeks but to back it up each week is the test in the NRL.
“As a side we need to get better at that. We beat five of the top eight sides which shows we can match the top sides on our best day but in games we’re expected to win we weren’t good enough. We have to be tougher with that and I know Neil (new coach Neil Henry) is looking for that next season.”
Falloon was a popular choice for the Broughton Medal among teammates because they know how tough he is and how he battled back, hand and bicep injuries for the last two months of the season but still aimed up, particularly in defence.
He was second only to Nate Myles and Ashley Harrison in defensive workload; Myles averaged 36 tackles a game, Harrison 34 from his 10 appearances while Falloon’s mark was 28.
“It’s the most games I have played in a season which was pleasing and I’d never had to regularly play 80 minutes in the NRL before so I have to say it was my best season,” said Falloon.
“My form wasn’t too bad but it would have been a lot better if we were winning games. It is a team game and when you’re not winning you don’t take as much out of your individual effort.
“But the season was definitely made hard with our injury toll with so many players sidelined. Plenty of us also had to keep going and were carrying niggles with a lot of us getting needled up before a game to get on the paddock. We had a heap of busted players going into the last game against Canterbury which makes the win even more satisfying.
“It was disappointing to watch the finals when I felt we were good enough to play in them. Considering out injury toll I think we had a real dig, but losing Alby [Albert Kelly] and Seez [Aidan Sezer] when they were in good form really hit us. And losing Harro [Harrison] was a massive loss; he tightened the middle up and added so much leadership to our side.”
To be chosen for City Origin, playing against Titans teammates Kevin Gordon and David Mead, was certainly a highlight for the tireless 85kg hooker.
“It was obviously one of the highlights of my career; it was a big achievement,” he said. “To be coached by Brad Fittler, who was one of idols, and to train with some of the high calibre players and see how they train and prepare for the game was a great benefit.
“It gave me an insight that I wanted to take back to the Titans.”