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Sam Stone in action for Newcastle's Canterbury Cup team earlier this year.

Sam Stone measured 194 centimetres and 98 kilograms the first time he faced the Melbourne Storm.

Not an insignificant slab of rugby league granite yet one not yet adequately equipped for the task.

Two years of physical progression later and on the eve of his club debut for the Gold Coast Titans, Stone feels better prepared by the challenge presented by an unrelenting Storm 17.

A Burleigh Bears junior and the son of former Knights coach Rick Stone, Sam is one of the beneficiaries of Garth Brennan's sacking a week ago.

He and Brenko Lee, Leilani Latu and Michael Gordon have all been brought into the Gold Coast side for an assignment the 21-year-old knows is the litmus test of any player in the NRL.

State of Origin stars Felise Kaufusi and Christian Welch will be missing from the Melbourne forward pack but with Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona leading from the front the Storm's challenge begins in the middle third of the field.

Titans v Storm - Round 18

Likely to be used on an edge when he gets the call from the interchange bench, Stone is confident that with two full pre-seasons and some five extra kilos on his frame that he won't be caught short like it was in a 40-12 defeat the first time he faced the Storm.

"Physically I'm a little bit more ready than I was a couple of years ago," said Stone, who made his NRL debut for the Knights in round one, 2017.

"I was only young back then and a little bit lighter and not as strong.

"Everyone when they go through the first bit of their career has a few games that are wake-up calls and I had a few of them against Melbourne in the early part of my career.

"But I think I'm a lot more ready for it now and I'm keen and excited.

"I was found out a bit physically when I was young. Big bodies and it was tough and a bit of an eye-opener but I think I'm ready now."

Acquired from the Knights just prior to the June 30 deadline on a deal that carries through until the end of next season, Stone was seeking a way to break back into the NRL.

After playing 16 games in his rookie season two years ago Stone has added just two NRL starts since, his last more coming more than a year ago.

"That was one of the main reasons that I decided to make the mid-year change," Stone said of the NRL call-up a month after joining the club.

"I wasn't really too sure [when it would come]. I just focused on going back to Burleigh and playing good footy there and my form would get me in there when I deserved it.

"The opportunity has presented itself this week against Melbourne which will be a good test not just for myself but for everyone."

Stone's addition to the 17 is just part of a personnel shake-up that senior coach Craig Hodges hopes will have a positive impact on the entire playing group.

"It's always exciting when young fellas get an opportunity," Hodges said.

"Although he moved away at a relatively young age he's a Gold Coast boy. He was born here and lived here for the first eight or 10 years of his life so it's exciting for him to make his club debut.

"He comes in looking for an opportunity and if he can bring that youthful energy and enthusiasm as well as the skill set that he's got then we'll benefit from that enormously."

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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