New Titan ready for Ferguson duel
Titans recruit Nene Macdonald will put half a season of opposed sessions against Blake Ferguson into practice on Sunday as he lines up directly opposite the man who took his place in the Roosters' star-studded backline.
Macdonald scored three tries in seven top-grade appearances for the Roosters in 2014 but the rubber-stamping of Ferguson's return to the NRL put another representative three-quarter ahead of him in the pecking order.
Ironically it was Ferguson's foot injury in Round 4 that opened the door for Macdonald to add four further NRL games to his resume but the lure of regular first team football on the Gold Coast resulted in a mid-season switch.
And now, less than a fortnight after joining with the Titans, the 21-year-old gets to put his knowledge of Ferguson's game to good use.
"A lot of us that weren't playing NRL would defend against them, so had had a lot of defence against him but see how I go in the game, it will be a lot different," Macdonald said ahead of his second game for his new club.
"Before [Ferguson] came it didn't put me down or anything but I wanted to work hard to get a crack.
"I had a few games this year but then the Titans approached me and gave me a real good opportunity and a chance to play all year so I wasn't going to let that go."
Born in Papua New Guinea before moving to Cairns with his family at the age of four, Macdonald was on the Titans books for two years as he finished school before the Roosters swooped.
Macdonald spent just four months on the Gold Coast before making the move to Bondi but it is the Titans who now seem set to reap the rewards of his four-year finishing school under the tutelage of Trent Robinson.
"I learnt a lot. Ever since I moved there I became a lot better player," the strapping centre said of his time at the Roosters. "I made my NRL debut down there and pretty much most of my footy between 17 and 21.
"[Gold Coast] were disappointed to see me leave but I was just playing 18s and then the Roosters said if I came down I'd play SG Ball and 20s and gave me a good crack at it and then it obviously went well from there."
Now back on the Gold Coast with a deal that takes him through until at least the end of the 2016 season, Macdonald is hoping to build on an encouraging first-up effort against the Warriors with an even better performance against his former teammates.
In his first game in the centres in the NRL Macdonald laid on a try for Josh Hoffman and ran for more than 100 metres and is excited about the brand of football coach Neil Henry is implementing at the Titans.
"I was a bit nervous but once I got into the hang of it, it was pretty good," he said.
"Structure is a bit different to the Roosters but once I got the hang of it it was real good. They tend to throw it around a bit more because the pack's not as big so it's pretty good, the backs get a lot more ball.
"Can't wait to play them actually. It will be tough, they're a good side but hopefully we go well and get the win."