New recruit Sam Stone has only had a short wait for his Titans NRL debut after being named on the interchange bench for this Sunday’s match against the Melbourne Storm.
Stone returned ‘home’ before the June 30 deadline on an 18-month contract, and after just three games for Burleigh, the 21-year-old now finds himself back in the top grade.
“Yeah, I’m excited,” Stone said.
“When I first moved here, I thought there was a chance and here it is.
“The coaches have been really good and I’ve been brought up to speed really quick. It’s been good.”
The Burleigh junior moved to Newcastle as a nine-year-old and after going through the junior rep system, went on to make his NRL debut for the Knights as a 19-year-old in 2017.
After 16 games in his opening season, Stone spent the majority of 2018 and 2019 in the Knights reserve grade side lining up in the back row.
When arriving back on the Gold Coast, Stone knew he would have to bide his time before getting an opportunity.
“I think I fit in alright. The players have been welcoming, and that’s all I can ask,” he said.
“It’ll be exciting. I think the whole family will come and watch.”
A focus for Stone after arriving back on the Coast was to train and play hard to earn his opportunity and he wants to take it with both hands whether it be in middle of the field, or on an edge.
“It doesn’t bother me whether it’s on the edge or in the middle. I’ll do what I need to,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to the coaches about a few things I need to improve on.”
The coaching staff made the announcement in front of the entire Titans squad this morning and while sometimes these things are done in private, Stone certainly didn’t mind receiving the news in front of the group.
“It was good to get the news, and everyone is happy for me,” he said.
There is no bigger task than the one this Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium against the Melbourne Storm, but Stone can see the silver lining after what has been a difficult few days for the club.
“Melbourne are good, they’re the benchmark of the comp,” he said.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to show our attitude heading towards the back-end of the season.
“While it’s not good what has happened, our focus has to be on looking forward and the game ahead. We need to prepare well.”