Rookie prop Shannon Boyd has re-signed with the Raiders for another three seasons. Photo: Getty Images
Overweight and out of shape at the start of the year, Raiders prop Shannon Boyd got the kick up the backside he needed from coach Ricky Stuart.
Boyd's hard work has paid off, the 21-year-old front-rower rewarded with a new three-year contract in the latest of re-signings under Stuart.
While Shaun Fensom, Jack Wighton, Joel Edwards, Dane Tilse and Boyd are among those to re-commit to the Raiders for the long term since Stuart's arrival, the thing Canberra wants most is still uncertain.
Star fullback Anthony Milford has been shielded from the media spotlight as the Raiders privately hope he remains at the club and turns his back on joining the Brisbane Broncos next year.
Coincidentally, the Raiders host the Broncos in round 13 - the cut-off point for Milford to change his mind.
If he does, as close mate and Kangaroos enforcer Josh Papalii did last year, it would give the Raiders another key component in the Stuart era.
Stuart is carefully building the roster he wants to take the club forward.
Boyd looms as an important piece of his front-row rotation after looking as if he belongs since making his first-grade debut in the opening round.
Stuart gave the Cowra product a chance, but not without a stern heart-to-heart in the pre-season.
"I don't think I've had that much faith in me in the last few years because of my weight and probably my commitment hasn't been there,'' Boyd said.
''[Stuart] talked to me at the start of the year and told me I needed to knuckle down and really have a go so I tried to do that.
''I came back way too heavy and out of nick and I was coming off injuries, so he said I needed to pull my head in and make sure I was doing the right thing. 'It was pretty daunting, but it's what he had to do.''
The Raiders have four front-rowers under contract for next season - Boyd, Tilse (2016), Paul Vaughan (2015) and David Shillington (2015).
Former internationals Brett White and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs are both off-contract at the end of the year.
Boyd has been in the Raiders' system since he was 16 and said, although there were a couple of offers with other clubs, it was an easy decision to re-sign given the number of players who had stayed.
"I think everyone's happy here and getting along quite well and everything's going sweet,'' Boyd said. ''I'm happy here and that's why I wanted to re-sign.
''I got a crack this year and it's been good. My minutes haven't been as good as I like, just getting used to the speed of the game and wait for all my nerves to settle down.
''I will keep doing a few extras at training and hopefully get a few more minutes out.''
Boyd has kept his place on the interchange bench for Sunday's match with Manly at Brookvale Oval in the first game since Glenn Stewart's announcement the Sea Eagles star will join South Sydney next year.
Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss - who will play his 100th NRL game - expects the Sea Eagles to lift as they aim to send out the popular second-rower a winner.
"I reckon they will be even more pumped up this weekend than they normally are, so it's going to be a tough game,'' Buttriss said.
"We're going to have be on our game and need an 80-minute performance.''