DESPITE playing every NRL game for the Gold Coast Titans last season, former Marist Brothers winger David Mead was thrilled just to hear his name announced in the run-on side for the season opener.
The 23-year-old will play outside inexperienced centre Dominique Peyroux against the North Queensland Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.
"It's always good just to be there," Mead said.
"We've been training since November so it's a reward to be able to play footy again.
"Dom (Peyroux) has only played about four games so I'll try and help him out.
"He is a good talker and I'll look to keep the chat up and get him involved."
Yamba product Luke Douglas and star signings Jamal Idris and Nate Myles will make their debuts in the new-look side.
Mead is unsure on what sort of impact the new signings will have.
"It's hard to say, I just have to worry about myself and prepare the best I can," he said.
"Every game in the NRL is tough and everyone is keen.
"I think the Cowboys towelled us up last time we played them, so it will be a good test first up."
Despite the Titans finishing with the dreaded wooden spoon last year, Mead had his best season since his debut against the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2009.
He scored a hat-trick against the New Zealand Warriors at Skilled Park in May and produced one of the best individual tries of the season when he hauled in a Scott Prince kick one-handed as he sprinted down the sideline against the Cronulla Sharks in round 22.
Mead also reached 50 NRL games and scored almost a quarter of the Titans tries.
He believes the decision to move William Zillman to fullback to give 20-year-old Jordan Rankin first crack at five-eighth will pay dividends.
"We have two good fullbacks either way and I'm sure it will work out for the best," Mead said.
"Zilly knows what to do at the back and returns the ball as hard as anyone.
"Rankin is a genuine five-eighth and it's a good chance for him to cement a spot for the season."
Mead is also thrilled to see Tweed Coast Raiders junior Kayne Lawton start at hooker against the Cowboys after making only a handful of appearances since his debut against the Broncos in late 2009.
"Kayne has had a horrible run of injuries and I'm happy to see him get another chance," Mead said.
"He has been massive for us in the trials and he's looking as fit and strong as I've ever seen him."