Brett White will never forget the night he went hunting with Shannon Boyd.
"He got a bog and I had to walk about five kilometres out to get a tractor to pull his car out," White said.
The pair have been through plenty together – White was Canberra's starting prop when Boyd made his debut off the bench in round one of 2014. Now White is a Raiders assistant coach with Boyd a leader of the pack.
Cowra product Boyd is preparing to play his 100th NRL game when the Canberra Raiders face the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.
The Mother's Day milestone comes on a special day for the Boyd family after his partner Nadia welcomed their son Lawson into the world during the pre-season.
At 10½ pounds there is no question who he takes after. Whether or not he loves the great outdoors is yet to be seen, but with a pigging-mad old man he might not have much of a choice.
"I had one night out with him and it was quite an experience with the big fella. He certainly is [in his element when he is hunting]," White said.
"Thats one of the qualities of where we are, the lifestyle in Canberra. For country guys like that, especially for him, to be able to play footy at a club and still have the lifestyle of being able to do things he loves.
"Not only him, any country of the boys that we have here at the Raiders, its a real strength we have here, a good lifestyle for the country boys."
That is one of the reasons why White hopes Boyd stays in Canberra despite being linked to the Gold Coast on a four-year deal worth about $600,000 per season.
A potential departure to the Titans could hinge on the future of Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace, who has until June 30 to advise the club if he will activate a 12-month option in his favour.
Titans coach Garth Brennan believes the Gold Coast will be able to fit both players on their roster next season but Boyd says he "hopefully" has a future in Canberra despite reportedly knocking back a three-year deal tabled by the Raiders.
White would love to see Boyd rack up more games in lime green, adamant he has come a long way since turning up to the NRL squad's pre-season training in late 2013.
The thing White remembers most about him when they first met isn't much of a surprise – after all, Boyd "has always been a standout purely for his size".
He went on to earn four Australian caps in 2016, but hasn't played for the Kangaroos since – however White believes the barnstorming prop is starting to rediscover the form that got him there.
"When he was younger the maturity side of it probably always held him back," White said.
"Over the past couple of years he has matured and I think playing for Australia and rep football has helped him along a lot. The more he has matured the better he has got and I think that will continue with him.
"This pre-season he really trained like a mature footballer with the way he went about his business and the way he went about his training. Most front-rowers, as they mature they get better with experience. Thats been a really big thing for him.
"You look at his game on the weekend and getting himself in some open space, it was probably only 30 metres but hell tell you it was 80.
"As a former front-rower and an assistant coach looking after the attack, when you see a big front-rower in open space like that… it was great to watch."
NRL ROUND 10
Sunday: Canberra Raiders v Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium, 4.10pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joseph Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Iosia Soliola, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Joseph Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Josh Papalii. Interchange from: 14. Ata Hingano, 15. Luke Bateman, 16. Charlie Gubb, 17. Dunamis Lui, 18. Liam Knight, 19. Michael Oldfield, 20. Craig Garvey, 21. Jack Murchie.
Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Edrick Lee, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Jayson Bukuya, 13. Paul Gallen (c). Interchange from: 14. Joseph Paulo, 15. James Segeyaro, 16. Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17. Jack Williams, 18. Kurt Dillion, 19. Braden Uele, 20. Briton Nikora, 21. Kyle Flanagan.
Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times
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