Titans prop Shannon Boyd hopes that a heart-to-heart with coach Garth Brennan will deliver bigger minutes and a greater impact as he plays through the pain of persistent headaches that have troubled him for the past month.
Recruited to provide a platform up front for the Gold Coast halves, the former Kangaroos front-rower has started just six of the 11 games he has played to date and will once again come off the bench against Manly on Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium.
Ever since three discs in his neck were pushed out of alignment in a collision with teammate Jarrod Wallace in round nine, Boyd has been troubled by migraines but intends to use the absence of Jai Arrow to repair any damage done to his reputation and end the season on a positive note.
Although he told NRL.com that he would much prefer to be in the starting side, Boyd is happy to play the role required from the bench providing the minutes are forthcoming.
The 47 minutes he played against the Warriors last start – for 122 run metres and 33 tackles – were the most he has played in a game all season and just the third time all season that he had played more than half a game.
Titans v Sea Eagles - Round 15
"Anything over 40. Anything under that takes away a lot from your game," Boyd said of his desired minute allocation.
"You look at your stats and those sorts of things and you're down on everything. It makes it hard. It makes it look like you're not doing your job.
"If you're playing 40-50 minutes you should be up around those 100-plus run metres every time which is what you want to do.
"It's just hard playing those 25-30 minutes, especially if you get a momentum swing and you've got to defend for 10 minutes. That makes it hard.
"But if I can go out there and play my 40 minutes and do my job off the bench then I'm still happy to be there.
"Garth and I have been talking about trying to make sure I'm getting more minutes which is good."
Restricting Boyd’s preparation for more than a month has been the headaches caused by the C1, C2 and C3 discs in his neck being out of alignment.
In no danger of doing any further damage to his neck by playing, the 26-year-old has to cope with the pain until continued physiotherapy treatment eventually brings the discs back into line.
The headaches caused him to miss games against the Bulldogs in round 10 and Broncos in round 13 and he is unable to participate in full contact sessions at training until the symptoms are relieved completely.
"I've just got to try and get that right and get rid of these headaches," he said of the neck complaint.
"It's a bit of a pain in the arse but I can't do any further damage to my brain which is good.
"It allows me to play but it's just going to prolong the headaches by playing and training.
"I've got to stay away from contact during the week so it doesn't keep prolonging the headaches. No contact and I've got to be wary of doing certain weights.
"Other than that it's all good, I've just got to monitor it, keep playing and keep getting the treatment every week until they're gone.
"They're starting to ease now and getting better so hopefully it should only be a couple of more weeks until they're gone."