Despite his side's horror start to the year firebrand prop Keegan Hipgrave has declared that he wants to play his entire career with the Gold Coast Titans.
Boasting a roster that demanded consideration as top eight contenders when the Telstra Premiership kicked off, the Titans go into Magic Round with just two wins and facing a Sharks team buoyed by last Friday's upset victory over the Storm.
Hipgrave has been restricted to just four games this season with hip tightness that affects his hamstrings and lower back but he's still the player the Titans turn to when they need a lift in intensity.
A Gold Coast junior who played under-20s for the Broncos, Hipgrave made his NRL debut with the Titans in the final game of the 2017 season and made a further 19 appearances last year.
His high-octane style of play attracted the interest of a number of other NRL clubs but he rejected their overtures to re-sign with the Titans until the end of the 2020 season.
Along with the likes of Jai Arrow, Max King, Moeaki Fotuaika and Jai Whitbread he represents the next generation of Gold Coast forwards, telling NRL.com that he would love nothing more than to be a Titan for life.
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"I had a bit of interest from some other clubs but my main goal was to stay on the Gold Coast,” Hipgrave explained.
“I debuted here and I hope to be a one-club player and play the rest of my footy here.
"I want to be a leader at this club. I look up to a lot of players, especially Ryan [James]. He's such a great guy off the field and such a great player on the field. If I could be a leader like him then I'll be stoked.
"We've got a lot of local boys come back into the side which is good. We've got our young boys that are coming through in AJ [Brimson] and Moe and myself and Jai Whitbread. We're all from the Coast.
"We're a young bench but I think it will be good if we can keep this pack moving forward. That will breed a good culture for the team moving forward.”
Forced to fill in in the centres when Phil Sami succumbed to an ankle injury early in the second half, Hipgrave’s energetic approach was typified by his flying effort to try and regather a kick into the Cowboys' in-goal.
His on-field speed is set permanently to 11 and makes him a valued member of the squad.
“You always love having a person like that in your team,” Titans skipper Tyrone Roberts said.
“Sometimes it can lift the whole team right when you need it. When he comes on and rips in everyone gets to feed off it. He can change the momentum of a game.
“He’s hard to handle but when you’ve got that much aggression you’ve got to be disciplined with it as well.”
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Adds Jai Arrow: “You know he’s always going to be there doing the stuff that no one likes doing.
“It’s great having him out there because he’s very physical and he’s got some punch with the ball as well.
“It’s little wonder he’s got hamstring problems because his legs go a hundred miles an hour.”
With his minutes being closely monitored in order to manage his injuries, a starting spot may be a number of weeks away, but it’s certainly a target the 22-year-old has set for himself.
"That's definitely a goal of mine, either this year or next year, to get a starting spot,” said Hipgrave.
“In saying that, the forwards that we've got in front of us are great forwards, first-class forwards.
“Right now I'm just playing my role within the team and right now that's bringing energy when I come on.
“Hopefully moving forward I can get into most of the training sessions and I won't be held back and I can get my minutes up a bit more.”