Titans new boy Shillington ready to lead
He may have been suffering from first-day nerves but Titans recruit David Shillington has declared he is ready to lead the Gold Coast out of their current doldrums and back into the NRL finals.
With 14 Tests for Australia and eight State of Origin matches for Queensland Shillington is the most credentialed of the Titans' recruits for 2016 and alongside Ryan James showed that the big blokes can lead the way when it came to day-one testing on Monday.
Despite being a newcomer to the club Shillington is one of the leading candidates for the Titans' captaincy left vacant by the departure of Nate Myles and said that he intends to set the right example for the largely young squad.
"I'm actually more nervous than I thought I'd be. A change of clubs and first day of pre-season, it's always a tough day with testing so pretty nervous but also really excited too," Shillington said.
"That's definitely my intention, to lead from the front and to lead by example.
"The club's already got some great senior players here and some really talented younger players coming through that have really made their mark on the game already.
"I've just got to work in with them and what they're doing and hopefully contribute to that in a positive way and set ourselves up for a good season.
"The Titans have had a rough trot with off-field distractions and a high injury rate the last year or two and hopefully they've got over all those hurdles and everyone will be re-energised and refreshed this year and ready to rip in and lift the performance from last year.
"I'd love to be part of that rebuilding phase and setting a new standard around here. Hopefully my actions prove that."
The Titans' new head of high performance, Matt Ford, was running his eyes over the new-look playing group for the first time on Monday and having worked with Shillington for five years at Canberra knows the leadership qualities he brings to a club.
"Being able to turn up consistently is a good attribute that 'Shillo' has had right through the career that I've been dealing with him," Ford said.
"He's got a very professional approach to on-field training and off-field, whether it's diet or time management or whatever it might be, he's definitely got a very professional approach.
"Given the age that he is and given that he is moving back to his home state I'd imagine he's really looking forward to the opportunity to rub some of that off amongst the young group that we've got up here at the Titans."
A veteran of 204 games across 11 seasons with the Roosters and Raiders, Shillington represents the largest part of a Titans recruitment puzzle that still has a couple of missing pieces to be filled.
With confirmation that Kevin Gordon is joining a long list of players who have left the club after the 2015 season the Titans still have room in their salary cap for at least two more players, with a prop forward, back-rower and centre their major targets.
With his Brisbane-raised wife and two children in tow, Shillington is confident that at 32 years of age the change from Canberra to the Gold Coast will have a revitalising effect on his career.
"I still feel great. Sometimes I think a change of clubs might be a good thing later in your career, hopefully that's the case for me," said the two-time NRL All Star.
"I'm enjoying the lifestyle change already coming from Canberra to the Gold Coast, been going for a surf and a fish and making the most of what the Coast has to offer.
"It's been a big change of roster so I'm not the only new kid here which is kind of nice. A couple of young fellas from Canberra have come up here to play too so looking forward to mixing with the boys and getting into it."