The NRL’s new ruck rules and the speed of rugby league’s new era have young Titan Tanah Boyd excited about his new life as a hooker.
Boyd was one of the new faces announced by Titans coach Justin Holbrook in the team named to take on the Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, with the impressive 19-year-old coming off the bench in the No.14 jersey as the Gold Coast’s utility player.
It is a formula that has worked well in the past, especially at State of Origin level, with the likes of Cooper Cronk, Michael Morgan and Daly Cherry-Evans all cutting their teeth as Queensland’s No.14 before graduating into senior playmakers for the Maroons.
Boyd will be hoping to follow a similar path, having joined the Titans mid-way through last season from the Broncos as a halfback.
Titans vs Wests Tigers - Round 4
He made his NRL debut against Newcastle in Round 24 last year, finishing the season with two games under his belt.
Now his NRL apprenticeship begins again, with Holbrook calling up Boyd as one of a host of changes the Titans hope will give them more skill and speed under rugby league’s new high-speed play.
“Yeah, it’s great,” Boyd said of his recall to the Titans squad. “I was just telling Dad yesterday that this means the world to me as well – not quite as much as when I got the debut, but I know that I’ve worked really hard in the pre-season and applied myself.
“I’ve learnt a lot this year and have trained a bit at dummy-half.
“I’m still learning the game and position, but I want to be out there and will do any role that is needed by the coach.
“I had a quick chat with (Holbrook), and he said that I’ll most probably come on as a nine.
“It’s an important role in the team and with the change in rules, I’ll look to come on and lift the speed.”
PROCTOR: We need to adapt to the speed
Boyd said having watched last weekend’s first round of matches under the new “six again” rule and one referee, he was desperate to get out and be a part of it with the Titans.
“Yeah, that six-again change has changed the speed a lot,” he said. “I obviously haven’t played with it, but I watched a lot of footy last weekend.
“I think it will suit me. I’ll look to come on get the forwards coming on to the ball and also look to run myself as well.
“I want to excel in the game and I’ll keep working hard.
“I’m sure Justin will give me a couple of simple things he wants done and I need to focus on nailing them. If I do my role, he’ll be happy and that’s what I need to do. That’s going to be my focus.”
A shift to dummy half will also see Boyd literally go head-to-head with another young Queensland rake, Harry Grant, who made an impressive debut for the Tigers last weekend.
“I watched their game and they were really good,” Boyd said. “I think they played the new rule to perfection, especially with Harry Grant in that nine role. He brings his forwards on to the ball really well.
“I think he took a bit of pressure of Brooks and Marshall as well. They were able to play off the back of the momentum and play freely.
“We need to be on defensively for sure. We know it’ll be tough but we need to slow them down and go from there.”
This article was first seen in the Gold Coast Bulletin.