Having arrived from Super League side Wigan out of contract and looking for an opportunity on the Gold Coast, Eddy Pettybourne quickly established himself as a pillar of the Titans forward pack, missing just three games in season 2015 and earning himself a contract for a further two years at the club.
The durable forward, whose leg speed and power has added a different element to the Titans pack, showed his versatility throughout the season by comfortably shifting between prop and the second row. Playing for a contract, Pettybourne said his big focus coming into the season was to cement his spot in the side.
“I was off-contract so I obviously wanted to play as much footy as I could and try to be consistent throughout the year,” he said.
In a young Titans side, Pettybourne is somewhat of an NRL veteran at 27. With previous stints at the West Tigers (one season) and South Sydney (six) before moving to England, the big forward found himself as one the of the more senior players in the team with 124 NRL games to his name, a role Pettybourne says he enjoys.
“I was one of the senior guys out there and it’s (being a leader) something I like,” he said.
“Obviously the more you’re on the field and the more comfortable you feel the more you enjoy it, but I’ve learnt a lot from this year and I’m just going to improve on all the weaknesses I have to work on and try to be better for next year.”
One player to benefit from Pettybourne’s guidance is Agnatius Paasi, with the young forward earning himself a two-year contract after coming to the Gold Coast on a train-and-trial contract. Pettybourne took the young forward under his wing and said he was pleased to see Paasi rewarded for his hard work.
“I was just happy to see him make the team, he was on a summer contract and I just gave him some advice here and there but he did all the hard work, I’m very happy to see him get through,” Pettybourne said.
With Paasi cementing his spot in the Titans side by the end of the year, Pettybourne says the young New Zealander has the ability to be a real force in the NRL.
“He can be a superstar, with another pre-season under his belt he’s going to develop into a good player,” Pettybourne said.
“He’s very focused and committed to what he does, his family is coming over from New Zealand as well which is going to make it easier for him as well, he’ll be better next year.”
With a core group of talented youngsters at the club and some exciting new recruits coming for season 2016, Pettybourne said there is going to be competition for spots in the Titans side next year.
“We’ve got some good young fellas coming in the squad, it’s going to be tough to keep your position,” he said.
“Everyone is going to be fighting hard for their position, it’s going to be an awesome challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”
What would he like most to improve most in 2016?
“My leadership, leading from the front in games and getting that first tackle in and doing all the little things that will get the team going. I also want to focus on breaking tackles and getting through the line a bit more.
AVG metres: 99
Avg. tackles: 19
Avg. hit ups: 11
Avg. minutes: 40