New Gold Coast Titans recruit Shannon Boyd has revealed how he almost quit rugby league five years ago but now has his sights set on helping lift the club back to finals football and playing representative football again.
The giant 26-year-old prop joined most of the Titans top squad for the first day of pre-season under a sweltering Gold Coast sun where he spoke to media about his goals for the upcoming season, which include regaining his representative jersey.
Boyd played four Tests for Australia in 2016 in his best season yet in the NRL when Canberra went deep into finals football.
Set to play alongside a group of the leading middle forwards in the game, Boyd has no doubt the Titans can defy the critics and play finals for the first time since 2016.
"The forward pack was good last year and I think they have done a good job recruiting this year. They are one of the bigger forward packs with Jarrod Wallace, Jai Arrow and big Ryan James," Boyd said.
"Everyone is going to be pushing for positions. If you're not aiming for top eight you shouldn't be here. The way the pre-season sounds it will all happen and we should make the top eight."
Boyd, who grew up on a sheep and lucerne farm, played under 20s for Canberra but at the end of 2013 was considering giving footy away and going in a different direction until Ricky Stuart joined the club.
"I went for a trial in Canberra and got picked in the side. If it wasn't for Ricky I wouldn't have played probably. I was going to quit but I gave it one last crack when he came in to coach and played round one that year [in 2014]," he said.
"I got a fresh start and it sold it for me to stay and give it another crack."
It is the vision Titans coach Garth Brennan sold him when the toured the club's headquarters earlier this year that inspired Boyd to join the club on a lucrative four-year deal, reported at $2.4 million.
"A fresh start is what I needed in my football career this year. I'd been in Canberra a long time and Garth seemed like an understanding, and reasonable, coach," Boyd said.
"I came up here in one of the byes, had a look at the complex and had a look at where I could buy some property. We liked everything that we'd seen, me and my partner.
"[Brennan] told me what he wanted me to be for the club and I agreed on that. I'm not going to say what he said but I liked what he had to offer me and they were good plans going forward. I've walked into a good place."
Boyd has found a slice of heaven on the home front after settling in on 11 acres on the slopes of Mt Tamborine.
He must get used to the humidity of training in the Gold Coast summer but Boyd was nothing but optimistic after lining up in what he described as "pretty full-on" first hit-out.
"It is going to be very different for me, so if I can embrace everything they've got, get along with the boys well and make good relationships with the coaches... we've got a good football side here this year and I think we'll go well," he said.
"I'd like to start playing rep footy again. I want to have a big pre-season first and go from there."
Boyd will join Tyrone Roberts, Tyrone Peachey and Ryley Jacks as key new recruits for the Titans in 2019.
Peachey is yet to arrive on the Glitter Strip. Roberts was at training on Monday but is still officially on his break after playing Super League with Warrington. Jacks, who has arrived on the Gold Coast, is set to join the squad at training in the coming week.