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Boyd, Cartwright focused on restoring trust

Titans recruit Shannon Boyd carries the tag of being a "former" Kangaroo.

Bryce Cartwright has been weighed down by the expectation that comes from being a member of Penrith's first family of rugby league and a mix of size and talent that made hard work an optional extra.

Both men begin the 2019 season with something to prove.

At 194cm and more than 120kg, Boyd is literally the biggest off-season signing in Titans history and will be charged with laying a platform in the middle of the field.

He was part of the Raiders pack that tore into the Gold Coast middles in the corresponding game 12 months ago and has spent the past three months trying to prove he can be even better on the Gold Coast.

The 26-year-old weighed in at 133kg at times during the 2018 season but will start this season around the 125kg mark, a playing weight far closer to that which convinced Mal Meninga to select him for the 2016 Four Nations tournament.

"Big Country" has ripped into his first pre-season at a club other than Canberra desperate to prove his worth but knows he won't earn the full trust of his new teammates until he delivers in the field of battle.

"That trust will come more so in games," Boyd told NRL.com.

Titans v Raiders - Round 1

"I need to start the season well and play some good footy for the boys, make sure that they know I’m going to do my job.

"It's easy to do it on the training paddock. You can be the best trainer in the world but you might not be the best player when you run out there.

“I’ve got to go out there and prove myself in that sense as well."

In his only pre-season appearance for the Titans, Boyd played little more than 20 minutes against the Broncos, spared a second stint due to fears of a broken hand from being stepped on.

In order to play that game, Boyd had to fly back from Canberra on the Saturday morning after serving as best man at a friend's wedding and then drive down from Brisbane.

"I would have liked to have played the second half but we had a bit of a hiccup with my hand so I didn't go back on just as a precaution," Boyd said.

"I felt good when I came off, like I could have gone 25-30 minutes, which is pretty good for me in a trial building into round one.

"I'm probably a couple of kilos under where I have been the last couple of years and feel a lot quicker getting up off the ground.

"Everything in general I'm feeling a little bit better about so hopefully that will show in my football."

Cartwright also began pre-season with a point to prove.

So disappointed was he with his performances in 2018 that Cartwright sought out Titans fitness sadist Nathan Peats to jump-start his 2019 campaign.

Before coach Garth Brennan called all his players back for training, Cartwright and Peats worked together at Pizzey Park in Burleigh to lay a base from which to build from.

Still, at 24, Cartwright's physical transformation over summer has been noticeable and it has transferred to eye-catching pre-season trial performances.

Yes, there was a customary Cartwright flick pass that cost his side a try against the Cowboys and there was a defensive miss for which he was maligned last season but his 80 minutes against the Broncos was virtually faultless.

He flattened Brisbane tyro David Fifita in the opening minutes, ran hard and distributed the Steeden void of mistakes, those behind the walls at the Titans convinced it was his best display in club colours.

Brennan had no choice but to pick him in the team for round one and now he intends to prove to his teammates that he deserves to stay there.

"I felt like I let them down a lot last year.

"I wanted to come back to pre-season first day and show them that I can be the player that I know I can.

"I just had to start off by putting in the effort at training and showing them that I can do it. Now it’s time for me to put that into the game."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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