Carter's lead inspires Gold Coast move
Inspired by the 2014 rookie season of former teammate Paul Carter, Lachlan Burr decided to stop banging his head against a brick wall of Bulldogs forwards and to try to fill the void of retiring veterans on the Gold Coast.
Burr is by no means the most high-profile recruit of the NRL off-season but like Carter he may yet prove to be one of the most astute purchases, the former Australian Schoolboys representative desperate to add to his solitary NRL game for Canterbury in 2013.
Like Carter, Burr has been consigned to a career spent for the most part in the VB NSW Cup but despite being named the Bulldogs' NSW Cup Player of the Year in 2013 and named on the bench in the NSW Cup Team of the Year this season, first grade forays have been few and far between.
But with good friends in Carter and Aidan Sezer already entrenched at the Titans and a host of veteran forwards having left the club at the end of the 2014 season, the 22-year-old boy from Bankstown decided it was time to pursue his dreams further afield.
"I think I just needed a change. There's a lot of forwards at the Bulldogs and just needed a change, mix it up and it was a good opportunity with a few forwards retiring up here so I had to take it when I got it," Burr said in his first week at his new club.
"It's been pretty tough [playing NSW Cup] but the forwards at the Bulldogs, it's a good pack of forwards and there just wasn't really a spot there for me so I had to take this while I had it.
"I played with Paul for four or five years and to see him excel like that, good on him, and hopefully I have a good year as well."
Since arriving on the Gold Coast Burr has been staying with good friend Aidan Sezer, the pair crossing paths regularly in the juniors growing up in Bankstown before playing alongside each other in the Bulldogs' premiership-winning SG Ball team in 2009.
Burr scored a hat-trick in their grand final win that year while Dale Finucane was named SG Ball Player of the Year and Sezer is excited about having the imposing back-rower potentially running outside him.
"Down at the 'Dogs they're all established forwards and it was always going to be tough for Lachie to crack it there," said Sezer, who also left the Bulldogs for an opportunity on the Gold Coast prior to the 2012 season.
"Paul Carter left there and came up here for greener pastures and he excelled last year so hopefully Lachie can do the same.
"He's a different type of forward. He's big and explosive and he's pretty skilful. He's a wide-running forward, he runs good lines and obviously that will be a good thing for us halves.
"He was on the other side [to me], he likes to play on the right but we'll see what happens. To play in a first grade team you've got to play wherever the coach puts you and that goes for everyone so I'm pretty sure he'll play wherever he has to."
Although there was interest from other NRL clubs, Burr said that the chance to link with the likes of Carter and Sezer again and the glowing endorsement they gave the club despite the Titans' difficulties in 2014 convinced him that the Gold Coast was the right move to make.
"There were a few interested but this was the best offer I got and best opportunity as well," said Burr.
"I talked to Sezer mostly about it but all the boys wanted me to come up here and I wanted to come up here so it's been a good move for me so far.
"They had nothing bad to say about the club. They love it up here and I think the main thing that attracted me was the forwards retiring and saw a pathway there for me so decided to take it."
Describing training in the soon-to-be infamous 'hot box' at the Titans' base at The Southport School as unlike anything he has ever done before, Burr has already impressed new coach Neil Henry with his fitness levels and commitment to training, two characteristics that will take him a long way under Henry's command.
"He's turned up really ready to go, we're very happy with how he's presented himself at training," Henry said.
"He's a big young fella and hasn't had much of an opportunity to play first grade at the Bulldogs behind a very strong pack so he's made a move for an opportunity to cement a spot and gain some NRL experience and the way he's trained at the moment he looks as though he's going to take that opportunity."