William Zillman’s ongoing calf injury has handed Gold Coast flyer David Mead the chance to prove to coach Neil Henry he deserves the NRL club’s No.1 jersey.
Mead has made no secret over the past few years of his desire to play at fullback – not on the wing – and was a star performer in the Titans’ season-opening win against Newcastle at the weekend, running for 171 metres and providing his side with strong attacking impetus with his surging runs from the backfield.
Co-captain Zillman is Henry’s first-choice custodian but is again in doubt for Sunday’s trip to face the Melbourne Storm, leaving the door open for Mead to push his case once more.
“I always enjoy the challenge at fullback,” Mead said on Wednesday.
“I like that position, it’s probably my preferred position on the field.
“(But) we’ve got a guy like Zilly who’s there and gets the job done as well.
“The competition’s good for the club. As long as we’re both pushing for it, it’s very healthy.”
Zillman is expected to return to the training paddock on Thursday and, if fit, will slot straight back into the No.1 position, meaning a shift back to the wing for Mead.
Mead, 27, has played for the Titans since 2009 but is out of contract at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Mead said he and the rest of Gold Coast’s backline will be combing over old tapes to find ways to combat the influence of Melbourne masters Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith as they prepare for one of the NRL’s toughest away trips.
“Us outside backs, we watch a lot of video on what they do – where Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith like to kick, because they’re very good kickers and put the ball anywhere they want, pretty much,” he said.
“Sometimes (Cronk) is unpredictable. He’s got us a couple of times.
“Melbourne’s probably one of the best teams at grinding out games. We’ve got to get a bit creative as well, and I think we’ve got that with Tyrone (Roberts) and Ash Taylor.
“If those halves provide a bit of creativity I think we’ll go alright.”