Jai Arrow is running through brick walls for Garth Brennan and has revealed how a master psychological ploy by the Gold Coast Titans coach has inspired his solid early season form.
The tough as teak middle forward has been the most consistent in the Titans pack in the opening four rounds of the Telstra Premiership and his assertive performances have him positioned as a genuine Queensland Maroons bolter.
When the 22-year-old was nursing broken ribs in the pre-season and was next to no chance of being right for round one, Brennan publicly stated Arrow would be selected if declared fit.
''I read where Garth said I was in in his team for round one if I was right and that just gave me a massive boost and made me work even harder,'' Arrow told NRL.com.
''It made me want to perform because I didn't expect anything from Garth.''
Arrow had broken his ribs a week out from the first trial when Brennan made his stunning pronouncement.
''They said I'd be out for six weeks but I played the first round against Canberra, so around four weeks earlier than I was supposed to,'' Arrow said.
''After every game they've pulled up a bit stiff but I'm not going to let a few ribs worry me.
''I haven't needled them at all. I put a pad on for the first round against Canberra and came through alright so I thought 'stuff it, I won't wear it from now on'. So I've just grown in confidence from there.''
Arrow was still doing modified contact leading into round two but told the physios he wanted to get stuck into full contact at training ''because that is where the hard work comes from.''
Arrow left the Broncos for the Titans at the end of last year unsure what he'd let himself into.
''The key thing for me leaving Brissie was that I wanted a starting spot and with Josh McGuire being there I knew I had an opportunity here to play more minutes and better footy,'' he said.
''Neil Henry had signed me so it was pretty daunting coming down here not knowing who the coach or the coaching staff were going to be or knowing many of the players.
“Now I've got to know Garth and his staff I wouldn’t change it for the world."
Arrow didn’t want to leave south-east Queensland and the Gold Coast was the perfect fit after he played all his junior football at the Burleigh Bears.
His name has been mentioned several times by Maroons coach Kevin Walters, who has made it clear that Arrow's relative inexperience wouldn't count against him.
''That is a massive rap from Kevvie and if I ever did get a chance to play Origin it would be a dream come true,'' Arrow said.
Arrow doesn't care whether he plays front-row or lock but said he wanted to be known as a player who ''gets all that hard work done that no-one likes doing.''
Arrow said he knew he'd have to maintain his form against an injury-hit Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday in Gladstone where opposite number Jake Trbojevic awaits.
''Jake's played lock for Australia so he is definitely good competition for me to come against this week and I am looking forward to the challenge," Arrow said.
''I can't wait for Sunday and I'm ready to rip in.''