A REJUVENATED Nate Myles said his Kangaroos jumper, and other season highlights, proved he needed a change of scenery after his stint at Sydney Roosters ended disastrously last year.
Myles's time at the Roosters ended prematurely - and abruptly - when he, Todd Carney and Frank-Paul Nuuausala were photographed at 2am at the Courthouse Hotel on Oxford Street last season even though the team had sworn off alcohol.
Myles, who has been a revelation at Gold Coast, was dismissed by the Roosters as a bad influence on the likes of Carney and he was released even though the struggling side still had games left to play. When the 27-year-old turned up to the Kangaroos training at Redfern during the week he was reluctant to rake over cold coals, and simply said that a lot had changed for him over the past 12 months.
''At the time I probably didn't think I needed the change, but I have really had to put my head down and work hard and I've enjoyed doing that up there,'' he said.
''I have to give credit to the Titans for a lot of it, they've been absolutely fantastic to me and they've welcomed me. I love the place.
''I'm not sure what happened [at the Roosters]. I'm not going to talk about form or anything but maybe my head wasn't in the right place. It's a big head, mate, so it can be in a lot of places … but I don't reflect on the past now, I'm just enjoying my time at the Gold Coast.''
Myles said the undisputed highlight of his season was receiving the award as the Queensland Origin team's player of the series.
''That was a spin-out, I still don't think it has sunk in yet,'' he said. ''I'm just enjoying it and the job still hasn't been finished because we have the Test in Townsville.''
While he is a passionate Queenslander, Myles said representing Australia was something he would never take for granted. ''Representing your country was always the biggest goal I had. Besides winning a grand final, playing for Australia would be it for me.''
His Gold Coast teammate Greg Bird said Myles, like every player wearing the green and gold, would need to be prepared for an Origin-style environment at Townsville as he expected the Kiwis to muscle up and the referees would take a back seat.
''Test football is a lot like club football because whether you like it or not club football is week-in, week-out and you have to turn up and play, even though there are times when you're not quite right and not quite healthy,'' he said. ''But this is a one-off match against New Zealand and we're going to have to be up and we're going to need to be right.
''They'll approach it the same as we are. The Kiwis have picked a lot of new faces and they'll be out to prove a point to be noticed and to earn permanent spots, just like me and a few of our guys who have been recalled to the Aussie team will. I expect a tough and physical game, and I hope the referees will take a back seat and let the game flow.''
Meanwhile, Canberra prop David Shillington, who will join Robbie Farah on Australia's interchange bench, said the Kangaroos' assistant coach, David Furner, had not received his due recognition for guiding the Raiders into the finals after critics were calling for his sacking mid-season.
''It showed his character and that his work ethic is second to none,'' he said. ''The whole time he was under pressure his commitment never wavered, his attitude never wavered.
''He's given us confidence too that if ever we get in a dark spot again - and hopefully we won't in the future - that he can pull us out like he has twice now over the last four years. A lot of coaches can't do that … they can't regain success. I don't think he received the accolades he deserved because we finished sixth, we made the second round of the finals and we did it all without Terry Campese and Brett White, two of our best players and our captain and vice-captain.''