One of the next crop of players to keep an eye on at Gold Coast Titans, Tristan Powell is ready to take another step forward in his rugby league career.
Currently soaking up the chance to learn more about the game as part of the NRL club’s development squad, Powell spent the 2020 season in the Gold Coast A Grade competition where he tested himself against more experienced competitors.
During the 2021 pre-season, Powell moved into the full-time squad at the Titans after getting a taste of what the club were all about during a train-and-trial stint at the start of the 2020 season.
“It’s been really good … before Christmas, a few of us young fellas came in a bit earlier (for training), it was really good, (but we have) had a bit of a break with the family and back into it now, so it’s been good,” Powell said.
“It does feel a bit like a camp environment, coming in every day, seeing the same faces – but I love it, probably the most enjoyable thing is getting out on the field early.
“Justin (Holbrook, Titans coach) is really good with the boys, getting field over and done with before midday and that’s the most enjoyable part, getting out there and trying to develop and being around boys like Davey Fifita and Tino (Fa'asuamaleaui) who have come through the pathways... it’s just unreal to be learning off them.”
While he still has plenty of work to do, that pathway is a familiar one to Powell, who was a Queensland representative player in his youth, playing in both the Queensland Under 16 and Queensland Under 18 sides.
“We played 16s Origin and we were unlucky to get beaten on the hooter there, by some very talented players (including Albert Hopoate and Bradman Best who have since made their NRL debuts), but we got them back in the Under 18s which was really good, that was probably one of my highlights as a player,” Powell said.
“And in the team environment, just winning that game meant so much; winning that game, especially after losing a tight one in the Under 16s .. (I have) been lucky enough to represent (Queensland) twice.”
Listed as a prop, Powell, who sees himself “as a lock at heart”, took the opportunity last year to play with Burleigh Bears in QTOP A Grade and was part of their grand final team that narrowly lost to Runaway Bay.
“It was a shorter season, but I found it really good, it was the first sort of shot at playing with men, constantly every week, week-in, week-out, so I found it really (good) for my development, it was good,” Powell said.
This year, the Goondiwindi junior’s goals are to build on that experience and press for selection in the Intrust Super Cup team with Burleigh Bears.
“The big one would be trying to get a bit of Cup experience, obviously here at the Titans they want to see you playing at the highest level against men and really thriving in that sort of environment, so that would be a main goal, just to get a game or two there, but other than that – keep improving in my defence is another massive goal for 2021," Powell said.
“My feeder club is Burleigh, so that would be my ultimate goal, to at least get a bit of Cup experience this year, but if it doesn’t happen, I am still young so I’ll just aim towards that, keep striding for that.”