Big Boyd to be targeted by Titans
The Titans are refusing to back away from the biggest challenge facing them in Canberra on Saturday; the 194-centimetre, 122-kilogram frame of Raiders prop Shannon Boyd.
With the departure of David Shillington and Dane Tilse in the past 12 months Boyd has been asked by coach Ricky Stuart to take his game from promising young prop to consistent first grader and his minutes have increased accordingly.
Shillington helped to bring the 23-year-old through into the top grade and says the Titans' assignment on Saturday starts with putting a stop to Boyd's forward momentum.
"I'll probably try and take down the biggest one and that's Shannon Boyd," Shillington said of his first trip to Canberra as a visiting player since 2008. "He claims he's 122 kilos but I think he's about 127.
"They all run hard and that's their motto. One-out just running as hard as they can trying to get the team forward so us as a forward pack defensively we've got to get numbers in there and control that ruck speed and take a bit of sting out of their backline.
"You have to get forward on these guys for sure. You have to get off the line.
"As big players they take a little bit to wind up. I know myself I like to get deep and run onto it and it's the same for them.
"We have to get off the line and hit them with numbers as well to slow them down and stop that ruck speed."
Just over 12 months ago both Shillington and Boyd were relegated by coach Ricky Stuart to the NSW Cup with Mounties in Round 1 but the senior of the two man mountains believes Boyd is approaching his football in such a way that he will realise his immense potential.
"I've got big raps on him and how he's going to go, not only this year but the next couple of years when he gets that experience," Shillington said.
"Everyone knows that props need years of experience before they start mastering the trade but with his big frame and his attitude towards it he's going to kick on for sure.
"He's got a massive engine for such a big guy. His game-time was pretty limited last year – we probably only got 15 minutes out of him at a time – but he's pushing out more minutes each week now and Ricky's leaving him out there for longer.
"'Boydy' has got that massive frame and he can move pretty good too off the mark.
"He's probably got better at his body positioning as he hits the line because there's a big thing about getting a lean on and avoiding that third man chopping the legs and rolling you on your back.
"I think he's getting better with that and he's really matured this year."
With 131 games of experience at the Raiders over seven seasons Shillington has some unique insight to offer his new Titans teammates but says when it comes to the big Raiders forward pack the study notes are very simple.
"Their motto down there is just to run hard," Shillington told NRL.com.
"Here we work on tip-on plays or trying to isolate a certain defender, 'Deano' (Raiders assistant coach Dean Pay) would just say to run that ball as hard as you can.
"You watch them play and that's what they do, just 1-2-3, one after the other, no tipping on, not much support really, just run hard."