Mead: Time to be more vocal
He is the longest serving Titan currently at the club and winger David Mead admits it is now time for him to become a leader in order to usher in the next wave of exciting young outside backs pushing up through the ranks.
Heading into the 2016 season Mead and co-captain William Zillman are the only two backs who have played more than 100 games for the Titans, Mead's connection stretching back nine seasons to Gold Coast's inaugural under-20s team in 2008.
Named on the wing for Saturday night's trial against the Rabbitohs at Pizzey Park, the 27-year-old will be surrounded by youngsters pushing for inclusion in Neil Henry's Round 1 team to face the Knights.
A minor knee injury to Nene Macdonald will see 19-year-old Brian Kelly and former Australian Schoolboy Nathan Davis start in the centres, Kelly to partner with Mead on the left where rookie half Ashley Taylor will be operating.
Davis, Kelly and Greg Leleisiuao have been impressive in the Downer NRL Auckland Nines and in last weekend's trial against the Eels and Mead believes he now needs to be more vocal in order to assist their transition into the top grade.
"A bit more leadership, getting out of my comfort zone and speaking out a bit more," Mead said when asked how he wanted to improve in 2016.
"Speaking my mind in front of the team and just playing consistently. Getting more carries and making sure I defend real well.
"That's one of my main goals, making sure that I defend real well on the edge.
"The talent that these guys have is really exciting. I've seen Brian and Greg play a bit before and know they're definitely superstars of the future. I've never seen 'Davo' play but I've heard good things about him. To actually see the way he moves for a big bloke on the football field is very, very exciting."
Kelly, Davis and Leleisiuao have spent the pre-season training with the NRL squad and Mead remembers that being a key aspect to his transition from the juniors into the ranks of the NRL.
Mead made his debut for the Titans at 20 years of age in Round 13, 2009 but said that it was the work over summer with the likes of Mat Rogers, Preston Campbell and Scott Prince that opened his eyes to what was required to succeed in the NRL.
"Every single day of training was very, very hard and you pretty much had to get your preparation right to be able to train and get through it," Mead told NRL.com.
"They're the moments when you realise that this isn't easy, making the transition. You have to make sure you look after your body real well and make sure you're mentally prepared for each day as it comes.
"That was the process that got me thinking about what I needed to do to play first grade.
"They're still a bit quiet [at training]. You get the odd day where they're talking a bit more and a bit more enthusiastic and you can feel it when they're at training. Not necessarily through the hard stuff but when the ball's getting thrown around you see them really get into it which is exciting.
"All that stuff you do in the pre-season is to put you in a game situation. How tired you're going to feel and how you're going to respond and I think that's what playing first grade is all about. Seeing what you are capable of doing when you are very fatigued.
"They've been very, very impressive during the pre-season and you saw a glimpse of it last week.
"They're big, strong lads and they're able to run over guys so looking forward to playing with them again this weekend."
The Titans v Rabbitohs trial kicks off on Saturday at 5pm at Pizzey Park in Burleigh. Gates open at 1.15pm.
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au.