He was known as the Brisbane Broncos’ strongest man.
But Gold Coast recruit David Hala reckons he won’t be hitting the Titans weights any time soon as he looks to avoid another tag – “dud buy”.
“I have a lot to prove,” the injury-plagued Hala said.
“I have to train hard and get the respect of the boys, have the belief that I can punch out the minutes, that I wasn’t just a dud buy.”
Hala, 25, held the Broncos’ bench press record of 195kg.
But Hala reckoned he could afford to avoid the gym for months as he tackled his first full pre-season ahead of his seventh year in the NRL.
“I can afford not to do gym for four weeks or two months or something,” he smiled.
“I’ve just got to keep running, as long as I can – I have to get that conditioning back.”
Remarkably, injuries – warranting 10 operations – have restricted Hala to just 37 games for Brisbane since his 2009 debut.
It ensured that even with Martin Kennedy and Ben Hannant cut, Hala was so far down the pecking order in the Brisbane pack that he was told he could look elsewhere by returning Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
“It all happened pretty quickly,” he said.
“I was a Bronco on Monday and then Tuesday morning got a call from the manager saying I had a couple of offers on the table.
“I talked to Wayne and asked where I sat in the pecking order and he was really honest.”
Asked about Bennett’s Broncos clean-out, which has also claimed Josh Hoffman and Ben Barba, Hala said: “It’s a big change but it’s totally on Wayne’s shoulders.
“He is bringing what he wants to the club and what he thinks is right – I wish them the best of luck.”
Due to his horror injury run, Hala initially accepted a downgraded one-year deal for 2015 in order to stay at the Broncos under former coach Anthony Griffin.
But Hala eventually walked as the returning Bennett cleared cap space for Darius Boyd’s arrival and a forward, with Dragons hardman Trent Merrin linked to the club.
These days, Hala just wants to put Brisbane behind him.
Asked if he was looking forward to playing Brisbane, the unlucky Hala quipped: “I am looking forward to playing anybody actually.”