Depth is critical for any NRL side moving forward and when the time arises, a depth player can become a permanent first-grade player, with Gold Coast Titans forward Mark Ioane planning to do just that – after re-signing with the club for 2 more years.
Making his NRL debut in Rd 8, Ioane has since cemented a spot in the Titans 17 over more experienced players such as Ryan James, on the back of his recent positive run of form.
With one goal in sight at the start of the year – to play in first-grade – Ioane knows that with the competition of spots, keeping your spot in the side is never easy.
“My first goal here was just to make my debut, and after that it was to try and stay in the seventeen,”Ioane said.
“Ryan James is one of my good mates and we have a bit of that friendly rivalry and competition is a good thing. I respect him as a player and he gives me tips out there on what we do, and we still help each other out.
He played Country this year, so he is a great player and I have to pick it up and keep improving each week to make sure I keep my spot and stay in the side.”
With veteran forwards in the Titans ranks like Luke Bailey, Nate Myles and Greg Bird, the New Zealander says that the advice he is receiving from the club stalwarts has proved online blackjack trainer invaluable to him as a player.
“All of the forwards have been a great help,” said Ioane.
“Ryan James has been in the top grade longer than me, and he is around my age, so I can use his experiences. Bails brings great experience as well and he knows every play in the book, so he is helping me out with moves and everything. He does all those little 1% things that really pick up the team and most people don’t recognise.”
With a mantra of working hard and tirelessly, seeking advice when he needs it and getting the help he needs to improve, it is that mantra that is a big reason behind Ioane’s recent run of good form.
“I try to just focus on the little things,” said Ioane.
“I try and do a bit extra during the week, learn more off the boys, ask more questions and get heaps of feedback off the coaches. I’m still learning the game. This is my first year of consistently playing NRL footy so I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and improve my game.
“I think the best is yet to come. With the defeats we’ve had the last two weeks, that’s a learning curve for me, trying to adapt to that and try and bounce back as a player. I’m learning that not everything will go my way. All I can do is rip in at training and learn heaps off the boys.”