Wallace ready to lead Titans forward

He came to the Gold Coast to prove his value as a starting front-rower and after playing in two winning Queensland Origin teams Jarrod Wallace says he is now ready for a leadership role within the Titans.

When the topic of 'buys of the year' has been discussed in recent weeks Wallace's name is rarely mentioned but this time 12 months ago he was a bench forward for the Broncos who had started in just 10 of his 73 career games to date.

But as a Titan he has played in every one of the 17 games he has been available to play in this season, racking up exactly 1,000 minutes at an average of a tick under 59 minutes per game going into Sunday's clash with the Wests Tigers.

Coming back from a successful Origin campaign with the Maroons, Wallace has grown in confidence and now recognises the next step he has to make in order to turn the Titans into premiership contenders in the years to come.

‌With the likes of Max King, Keegan Hipgrave, Morgan Boyle and likely signing Jai Arrow all to play prominent roles in the middle for the Titans in the near future, Wallace knows they will need strong leaders to help them adjust and insists he is ready for the responsibility.

"I definitely want to be that middle leader," Wallace told NRL.com.

"We do have a lot of young guys coming through which is really good and exciting. Me and 'Dark' (Titans captain Ryan James) have been there and had to go through the hard stage, trying to crack the NRL and it is hard.

"You need to have patience, train hard and do all those little things right. When you go back to 20s or [Intrust Super] Cup you've got to make sure you're playing good footy there and be ready if that opportunity does open up.

"Maxy King did it this year and now he's our starting lock at the moment. He's been playing some really good footy so when you do get that opportunity you've got to make sure you take it."

Averaging almost 142 metres and 34 tackles per game, Wallace has played the role that Titans coach Neil Henry wanted from him to perfection.

Against his former club he ran for a staggering 264 metres in Round 7 and then backed that up with 176 more metres against the Sharks a week later.

 


Queensland coach Kevin Walters tortured him before Origin I with a phone call to tell him that he hadn't been selected but when a raft of changes were made for Game Two Wallace received a phone call of a far more pleasing nature.

The 26-year-old was given limited opportunity in Game Two but ran for 98 metres and made 22 tackles in 41 minutes of game-time in Queensland's 22-6 win in Origin III and returned to club-land with a greater sense of self belief.

"It was everything that Origin is built up to be," said Wallace, who will line up against Blues prop Aaron Woods again on Sunday.

"It was fast, it was physical, there were no errors, the week of training and the hype of everything was outstanding.

"I've always been a fan and watching is good but to actually be on the other side of the fence playing and watching how passionate Queensland fans and supporters are was pretty cool.

"I always knew that I was capable of more than what I was doing at the Broncs. I wanted a bigger role and that's why I came down to the Coast. I wanted to be a starting front-rower.

"I wasn't expecting to play as many minutes at the start of the year but obviously due to injuries and things like that it just kind of happened like that.

"After playing Origin and things like that I know I'm capable of playing that high intensity footy now and hopefully I can come back now and play good footy for the club."