In his first year in the NRL, young tyro Shannnon Boyd’s gradual improvement with every match in the top grade has been as noticeable as his large frame down a narrow alley.
After a colossal effort during pre-season which captured the admiration of Ricky Stuart and his coaching staff, Boyd was granted the opportunity to make his NRL debut against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round 1 following an injury to David Shillington.
The monstrous 22 year faced the might of the Australian Test front-row of Matt Scott and James Tamou and did not look out of place one iota.
Boyd then proceeded to retain his place in the top 17 until injury struck.
Having recovered from injury Boyd then felt that he had lost some match fitness and elected to play for Mounties in the NSW Cup during the representative round when the Raiders players had the weekend off.
This exemplary attitude couple with Boyd’s damaging displays in his 22 minute cameos led Stuart to recall Boyd to the NRL line-up, where he has remained ever since.
In his nine matches this year Boyd has registered one try, five tackle breaks and averaged an impressive 62 metres and 15 bone-crunching tackles in just 22 minute spells.
Whilst Boyd has been granted a marginal amount more game time recently he is striving to play bigger minutes.
“It’s my first year in the NRL so I’m happy to be selected in the 17 each week even if that means coming off the bench,” Boyd said.
“It’s been a massive learning curve gaining experience in the top game and I just want to keep on improving and trying to make as much difference as I can when I come onto the field.”
“Ricky and Dean have been great for my development and I’ve been really grateful to have been getting more and more game time.”
After re-signing for two more seasons with the Raiders, the club he came to as a 16 year old from Cowra, Boyd plans on being the club’s premier front-rower one day. For now though, he is happy to bide his team and soak up all the words of wisdom bestowed on him by the club’s experienced quartet of Learoyd-Lahrs, Shillington, Tilse and White.
“Everyone would love to start the match and that’s one of my goals eventually but I know that I’m still young and I count myself as lucky to be able to learn off the likes of Whitey, Tilse and Shillington.
“I’m appreciative of Ricky giving me more minutes and I’ll be making sure that I put in 100% effort so that I won’t be letting him, my team mates or the fans down when I get out there.”