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'Wherever they need me': Smith-Shields' pledge to play NRL

New recruit Harley Smith-Shields knows he has plenty to play for in this Sunday's first trial against the Dolphins at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Set to be his maiden hit-out in Titans colours, the clash will be the first opportunity for the 24-year-old to show Des Hasler why he deserves a spot in the best 17 ahead of the season opener on March 9, especially with the breadth of talent available in the back five.

Moving north for a fresh start after working his way back from an ACL injury that cruelled him in 2022 and put him on the back-foot for 2023, the former Raider is relishing his chance to be back playing footy with a full pre-season under his belt.

"It was definitely frustrating," Smith-Shields said of his injury.

"I obviously got rookie of the year in that 2021 season and then had a really strong pre-season and thought I was probably going to play Round 1, then obviously had the injury at the end of pre-season which hurt a lot and I had to watch the boys all year. 

"I think last year, I was just finding my feet again after the injury, getting back into the contact and that sort of thing. 

"Now I've had a full pre-season again here with the boys, so it should be good."

Getting a head-start on his bid to earn a spot with his inclusion for Sunday's trial, the 15-game outside back is expecting to start in the centres, but with the ability to also play at fullback and wing, hasn't ruled out any position for a chance to return to first grade.

"I'm not opposed to playing anywhere... wherever they need me, I'm happy to have a go and put my best foot forward," he said.

"It's definitely a stacked backline... we have a lot of talent here but probably in the centres is my most comfortable position, but where I start I'm not too sure.

"If I have to play in the Queensland Cup, I know it's a strong comp up here, so that was also a little bit to do with the move, so I can just find my feet there.

"But if the opportunity was to come for me to play first grade, I'd be looking to take that with both hands."

Smith-Shields is expecting to bring added intensity into Sunday's clash to help win a spot - something that is always welcomed by his new coach Hasler - with the Canberra junior having the perfect preparation to the experienced mentor's reign with his former coach Ricky Stuart.

"They're both very passionate and they both love their footy," he said of Hasler and Stuart.

"If you get them away from training and you ask how they're going, you start talking about footy again which is good.

"They obviously both bring a lot of emotion to game day, which I'm looking forward to, especially Des who brings a lot of emotion and rallies the boys which should be good.

"They're pretty similar in that fashion and it's made the transition coming from Ricky to Des a little bit easier."

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.