Morgan Boyle during his breakout game against the Storm in 2017. Picture: Getty Images
Morgan Boyle during his breakout game against the Storm in 2017. Picture: Getty Images

Titans boom forward’s shock defection

RISING Gold Coast behemoth Morgan Boyle has departed the NRL club effective immediately to sign with Manly.

The front-rower will begin his journey at Brookvale on Monday.

Boyle had been tipped for big things after a breakout 2017 rookie season in which he played 15 NRL matches, including a barnstorming effort in running 177m to underpin a memorable 38-36 Titans win over Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.

Standing at 194cm and 111kg, Boyle offers size and a powerful running game through the middle third of the field.

Morgan Boyle during his breakout game against the Storm in 2017. Picture: Getty Images
Morgan Boyle during his breakout game against the Storm in 2017. Picture: Getty Images

However, his second year in the top grade was crippled by a pre-season training collision with Jarrod Wallace in February 2018 that left him carrying a shoulder injury.

Boyle struggled through seven NRL games but never really found his feet again before going under the knife for season-ending surgery.

The 22-year-old had seemingly fallen down the pecking order and started the new season on the bench for Burleigh in the Intrust Super Cup, playing just 68 minutes across two games.

He had been set to play in the ISC derby between Burleigh and Tweed on Sunday at Pizzey Park but was withdrawn from the fixture to instead travel to Manly.

Boyle told the Bulletin last month that he was starting 2019 behind the eight-ball after missing a chunk of the pre-season but he felt "100 per cent" and was working overtime on improving defensive shortcomings in his game.

Titans young forwards Keegan Hipgrave, Max King, Jai Arrow, Morgan Boyle and Moeaki Fotuaika at Cbus Super Stadium. Picture: Jerad Williams
Titans young forwards Keegan Hipgrave, Max King, Jai Arrow, Morgan Boyle and Moeaki Fotuaika at Cbus Super Stadium. Picture: Jerad Williams

Titans officials have confirmed his departure, which now leaves the club with two vacancies on their top 30 roster.

Gold Coast are expected to act quickly to fill at least one of those spots.

Boyle joins 2018 Titans players Kane Elgey and Brendan Elliot on the Sea Eagles list.

His departure could threaten the forwards depth in Garth Brennan's squad beyond the top 17 that played in their 20-6 loss to Cronulla on Saturday, given that Jack Stockwell and Will Matthews remain sidelined with injuries.

Keegan Hipgrave, Leilani Latu, Jai Whitbread and uncapped youngster Darius Farmer are the only other forwards in the Gold Coast ranks that are currently fit.