Raiders prop Shannon Boyd.

The ultimatum that made Boyd a world-beater

Even the most casual of footy fans could see it.

A massive kid who would skittle slightly less big opposition forwards when he came into the under-20s competition as an 18-year-old measuring 194 centimetres and weighing 119 kilograms, Shannon Boyd was a stand-out in every sense of the word.

‌He played for the New South Wales under-20s a year later but it took some brutal honesty from Raiders coach Ricky Stuart when he returned to the club at the end of 2013 for Boyd to understand how much more work had to be done before he would get anywhere near his potential as a footballer.

"When I got to the club I told him he should do one of two things; either commit and have a red-hot go or go home and work on the farm with his father," Stuart told NRL.com.

"He was wasting his own time. He was half-in, half-out.

"He wasn't being fair to himself because he wasn't having a red-hot go.

"I said to him that he'd be better off going back to the farm and working with his father because his father's got a successful business and he'd be good at it."

Stuart says it took Boyd "30 seconds" to commit to his rugby league career and by Round 1 he was a member of Stuart's 17 to start the 2014 season.

Now 24 years of age, Boyd weighs just three kilograms more than the 18-year-old behemoth who rocked up from Cowra and is an Australian Test representative with an Origin call-up for New South Wales not far away.

Considered a shock selection for the Kangaroos for the 2016 Four Nations tour by most pundits – "That's why you guys are journos and Mal's the Australian coach" – Stuart said Boyd has developed even further by spending time around the game's elite and being coached by Mal Meninga.

"Mal had a lot to do with 'Boydy' personally when he was overseas in regards to where he is at in his game and his career," Stuart said.

"When you've got a coach like Mal giving you some advice and his opinion it can really do wonders for a young man and Boydy is a level-headed bloke and he's taken that all on board.

"Shannon came back from the tour a lot healthier with the experience that he gained by playing by playing with great players, rooming with Matty Scott and being coached by Mal.

"Mal's a coach you can trust. The culture he's trying to create there suits me down to the ground if I've got my player in there in Shannon Boyd because I know he's getting the right advice."

In many ways he's still the big kid from country New South Wales but having seen his progression through the junior grades to the NRL, Canberra skipper Jarrod Croker has no doubt Boyd came back from playing four Tests with the Kangaroos a more mature footballer and person.

"He's still the same bloke but he's grown an extra leg," Croker said.

"He's become a leader of the pack and the way Boydy talks around training and around the club he's really grown into a leader and it's probably got a lot to do with the season last year and the Four Nations.

"He could have easily come back and had his head up his backside and gone into a bit of rut but he's grown an extra leg and he's leading our big boys out there."