New Titans halves recruit Ryley Jacks insists two years of development in the Melbourne Storm system has given him the game smarts to achieve his goal of helping unlock the best in Ash Taylor.
The 26-year-old playmaker has signed a one-year deal with the Titans but he will have to fight for a starting position alongside Taylor with Tyrone Roberts rejoining the club and fellow new recruit Tyrone Peachey also a halves option.
Gold Coast's hierarchy signed Jacks because they believe he has the game management skills and the calmness to provide a foil for Taylor, taking the pressure off the club's marquee man so he can unfurl his creative best.
Jacks played 25 games for Melbourne in two seasons but with Brodie Croft and Cameron Munster on board he decided to make the move north.
"It is a really good opportunity at the Titans for me because one of my main reasons for leaving the Melbourne Storm system was to try and crack a regular starting spot," Jacks told NRL.com.
"Obviously Ash will be there on one side but if I was to play with him I think I can take control of the team and drive them around the park and that should hopefully free Ash up to do what he is good at, play with his eyes up and just worry about his own game. I think I can take some pressure off him if I was to play in the team."
Jacks's contract was up with the Storm at the end of 2018 and he was impressed with coach Garth Brennan's vision for the club after speaking with the Titans mentor, as well as with the quality squad assembled after the signatures of Shannon Boyd, Peachey and Roberts.
Brennan was also drawn to Jacks by the knowledge he had been coached and developed by the best in Melbourne.
Jacks looks back on his stint with the Storm as the key to his growth as a player due to the influence of Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, and in particular star half Cooper Cronk in the one season he had with him in 2017.
"The two years at the Storm were unreal for me," the Canadian international said.
"Being a halfback I just followed Cooper around and tried to learn as much as I could off him in 2017. The key for me was the stuff he does behind the scenes and off the field, just with the way he prepares his body for games and his approach to meetings and video sessions during the week where he worked out the opposition.
"I also learned a lot off Billy and Cameron, especially Cameron's calmness and leadership."
Jacks added it was "every single one" of the Storm players under Craig Bellamy that had the ultra-professional approach to everything from training and recovery to team meetings and video sessions.
"I can't thank the Storm enough for giving me the opportunity when no one wanted me in the NRL, but they did," Jacks said.
Jacks, who has just started training with the Titans, has only signed one-year deals in his career, a situation he intends to change with a dominant season on the Gold Coast.