King at heart of Titans' generation next
Max King has brushed aside complications with his heart as he targets leading a new generation of youthful Gold Coast forwards.
When the 20-year-old middle forward was left out of the round three clash with St George Illawarra, he received some welcome news on a troubling heart issue.
"I had SVT [Superventricular Tachycardia] where I got heart murmurs and had an operation about two years ago to fix it," King told NRL.com.
"It came back and I had another operation over the Christmas break.
"Garth left me out of the team to rest my shoulder the other week so the surgeon decided it was a good time to go in and make sure everything was working fine, which it was, so it was more of a check-up."
King said the Titans staff had shown diligence with their duty of care towards him while adding he was not being hampered on the field.
"It is all cool," King said.
"When you say 'heart operation' it sounds a lot worse than it is.
"It is more an inconvenience than dangerous. That is why I keep telling the staff 'put me in the team, I am sweet'."
Brennan has had no hesitation in doing exactly that.
"Max has a really good work ethic which I like in my middles and the boys can trust him because he always turns up for them," he told NRL.com.
None of the Titans pack has hit the age of 30 yet. Ryan James, Kevin Proctor, Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace are four of the older heads up front but more so because of their NRL experience rather than their age.
King said they were "setting the culture", with the new breed of young forwards which includes Morgan Boyle (22), Jai Arrow (23) and Keegan Hipgrave (21) "following that up".
"Having that new generation of forwards is refreshing and particularly since Garth has come in and set down what he expects of us," King said.
"That has given us all a clear mindset because the standard is high and everyone is pushing for spots
"Last year we were hit with injuries and I felt as though I might be in the team just because of that.
"This year, everyone is sticking their hand up and there is a real competition to force your way into the 17."
King said there were more forwards in the wings waiting to get their chance in the top grade and pushing him all the way.
"There are forwards behind the scenes like Jai Whitbread and Moeaki Fotuaika, who has only just turned 18, pushing for spots who haven’t hit the top grade yet but I think they have a long future in the NRL," King said.
"Garth mentioned before the Manly game that it was the first time everyone in the squad had been healthy and ready to put their hand up, and that makes selection tough and that has probably showed on the field."