David Mead will push vice-captain William Zillman to be the Titans fullback for Round 1. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
You won't find it in the pages of "How To Win Friends and Influence People" but David Mead refuses to shy away from a desire to depose the vice-captain and secure the Titans fullback jersey on a permanent basis.
William Zillman returned to full training with the Gold Coast squad on Monday after missing much of the end of the 2013 season with an osteitis pubis injury but his absence last year gave Mead a taste of the No.1 jersey that he now hungers for.
Titans coach John Cartwright and new assistant coach Neil Henry have been working closely with Mead since his return to training on developing him into a genuine fullback and the Papua New Guinea international indicated that he is gunning for Zillman's spot for Round 1.
"It's something that I was thrown into and didn't know it would happen but it happened, it got me excited and now I'm training there," said Mead, who was a five-eighth in his junior rugby days growing up in Lismore in northern New South Wales.
"'Carty' and Neil have spoken to me a bit about that and having a run there and having a feel for it so it's feeling pretty good at the moment.
"I'm training both on the wing and at fullback so whichever way suits the team best and what the coaches think is best for the club; we'll wait and see for that.
"I definitely like fullback because of how much running you do and how much more involved you get. That's something that I'm working on, to improve my fitness and my skill level so I can eventually get a position there."
The Titans' most prolific tryscorer in club history has an impressive strike-rate when moved to the back, having scored a try in three of the four games he has played at fullback in the past two seasons.
In the Titans' Round 21 clash with the Wests Tigers last year Mead made two line breaks and scored a try as Gold Coast won 36-6 and then a week later he recorded three line breaks, scored a try and made eight tackles as his side won 26-16 over the Bulldogs.
His added influence on games obviously caught the eye of Cartwright and the 25-year-old is excited at the prospect of further developing his game in a relatively unfamiliar position.
"Fitness levels, because there's a lot more running," Mead said when asked what he needs to work on most. "You probably get another two or three 'kays' at fullback than playing on the wing. That's been one main focus for me coming back into pre-season and I guess the skill level.
"You've got to be able to pass the ball both sides and do long passes and short passes. Those are the two main things that I'm working on at the moment.
"It definitely gets me excited because you can run all over the park. That's what I used to do in my junior years, just have a bit of fun and run around the park.
"Obviously there are set plays for us but you definitely get a chance to run around the field a lot more and that's what I enjoy."