Shannon Boyd debuted in the opening round of the season and his blockbusting performances in his next 20 matches resulted in him being crowned as the Raiders 2014 Rookie of the Year as well as establishing himself as one of the most exciting front row prospects in the game.
Originally from Cowra in country NSW, Boyd played for the Raiders SG Ball and NYC teams, before making his way into the Raiders NRL squad at the start of the 2013 season.
Boyd played for Mounties during 2013 in an injury interrupted season and although he did not set the world on fire in the NSW Cup, the club showed enough faith in him to offer him a one year contract extension for 2014.
As such, this season was a make or break year for Boyd, but the 22 year old took every challenge in his stride.
A massive pre-season saw him force his way into Ricky Stuart’s top 17 in Round 1 and it was a spot that Boyd would hold for the remainder of the year, albeit for three games missed through injury.
From the moment he took on the Australian pairing of Matt Scott and James Tamou in Round 1 against the Cowboys, Boyd’s toughness in defence and inspirational charges in attack belied his age and inexperience.
He improved with each game and in fact graduated to being a starting player for a portion of the season.
Coach Ricky Stuart was so impressed with Boyd’s commitment and efforts during pre-season, coupled with his form during his first couple of NRL games that in April he re-signed the former NSW Under 20’s representative until the end of 2017.
“It’s great to be remaining with the Raiders for an extra three years, I played my junior footy here at the Raiders and they’ve given me the chance to make my NRL debut,” Boyd said.
“My game has improved in leaps and bounds under Ricky Stuart and Dean Pay and I want to continue to develop under them. I’ve got a lot of mates here and the club has been good to me. I see a bright future ahead for the Raiders and I want to be a part of it.”
By the end of the season opposition front-rowers not only knew Boyd's name but had singled him out as one of the dominant forces in Canberra’s pack of forwards.
Boyd’s efforts over the course of the season resulted in him being unanimously chosen as the Raiders Rookie of the Year at the Meninga Medal.
With Brett White retiring at the end of 2014, there is an opportunity for Boyd to help fill the void left by the former international bookend in 2015 and in turn take his game to another level.
If Boyd continues with the same exemplary attitude that he exuded this season, the sky is the limit for the likeable front-rower.
Average Minutes: 26
Try Assists: 0
Try Saves: 1
Line Breaks: 1
Line Break Assists: 0
Tackle Breaks: 12
Average Metres: 66.8
Average Tackles: 15.9