The next BIG thing: Shannon Boyd
When most people at the Raiders think of Shannon Boyd one word resonates profoundly: BIG.
Boyd is big in size, big in heart and big in talent.
What is even more impressive though is that this 193cm and 123kg powerhouse is just 19 years old and already in the first grade training squad. He is the second youngest squad member behind Jack Wighton.
After an extremely impressive season last year in the Toyota Cup, in which the Cowra Magpies product averaged 104 metres and 16 tackles per game, Boyd has been elevated to the top squad despite having a year left in the under 20s competition.
The Raiders coaching staff believe that having Boyd training with seasoned front row campaigners such as Brett White, David Shillington and Dane Tisle will enhance Boyd’s development considerably as well as benefitting the club's already outstanding front row stock.
“It’s been pretty full on but it’s been good and I’ve learned a lot of stuff which should help me out this year,” said the NSW Under 18s representative.
“It’s a lot different to training with the 20s. It’s definitely more serious and full on than the Under 20s but that’s what I need to develop my game.”
“I think I’ve handled it pretty well. I struggled the first few weeks but my fitness improved with each session which made the transition easier.”
The proof is in the pudding – or lack thereof – for Boyd as he aims to play more minutes in 2012.
“I lost about 5kgs in skin folds of fat and then regained the 5kgs in muscle so I’ve stayed about the same weight but I’m a lot more fit.”
“With all the aerobic testing we do out on the field, I’ve gone up in every category so I’m happy with myself and just want to keep on improving.”
Boyd also has a greater understanding of the importance of on-field communication since training with the NRL players.
“Talk’s a big thing out on the field. Without that you struggle, so I’ve got to improve in that area. It helps with knowing where you have to be all the time and that there’s always a job for you to do out on the field be it positioning yourself for the next hit up or running a decoy for another player.”
Whilst it has a been a steep learning curve for the young tyro, there is no better place to learn the art of front row play than at the Raiders. Boyd has soaked in all the tutelage provided to him by the experienced stars at his disposal such as Brett White, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Dane Tisle and David Shillington.
“It’s unreal being able to train with those sorts of players. They teach you a lot of stuff and are always helping you out. It’s definitely going to help my game out so I’m blessed to be able to listen and learn from them.”
“Whitey’s been really good and showed me a few things along with Tommy (Learoyd-Lahrs) and Tilse. Now that Shillo’s come back from injury he’s also been a big help.”
“My goal this year is to hopefully debut in first grade so we'll see how I go. All I can control is how I play so if I’m playing at my best hopefully I’ll be pushing for a spot. It’ll be such a proud moment for me running onto Canberra Stadium in first grade.”
Another goal for this exciting young prospect is to notch a try after registering zero last year, although he was fortunate enough to avoid the dreaded nudie run.
“I didn’t get a try at all last year but I wasn’t able to go to presentation night because I had an operation booked in then so I missed out on the nudie run though luckily.”
“Hopefully I get one this year so I can avoid it two years in a row although my skin folds are down so at least I’ll be looking trim,” laughed Boyd.Source: Raiders.com.au