‘I’ll peel oranges for him’: Titans recruit excited for Hasler era — Off-season Central

The Des Hasler era is underway on the Gold Coast and emerging forward Keenan Palasia wants to do whatever is needed to help out his new team and coach.

Palasia linked up with the Titans on a two-year deal from this season after spending the first five of his NRL career with the Brisbane Broncos.

Justin Holbrook, not Hasler, was the coach of the Titans when Palasia put pen to paper on his contract with the Gold Coast back in December 2022, so the 26-year-old is keen to make an impact with the premiership winning coach.

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Holbrook was fired mid-2023 and replaced with Hasler who took over from this season.

Speaking to the media after a Titans training session, Palasia admitted he hasn’t had a conversation with Hasler about his role just yet, but says he’s willing to do anything.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 07: Head Coach Des Hasler looks on during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session at Parkwood Village on November 07, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“We haven’t really had any conversations along those lines, we are trying to find the best sort of chemistry between the forward pack and see how we all work together,” Palasia said.

“To be honest, I’ll play anywhere he wants. I’ll peel oranges for him if he needs that but wherever he puts me, I’ll play.

“Hopefully I can start, but wherever Des wants to play me I’ll play there. Even if I’m not even in the (first grade) team, I’ll just have to play my best footy to force my way into the team.”

Palasia believes Hasler will be a great influence on a Titans side, who clearly has the ability to be playing finals footy, but has struggled mightily in recent seasons with finding consistency.

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“He’s good. He’s straight to the point which is what we need,” Palasia said.

“We got a young team so we kind of need that bit of harshness and anger from him to help us stay in line.”

Palasia enjoyed a breakout season for the Broncos in 2023, appearing in 20 games for the runners-up.

He was one of the best afield in the grand final loss to Penrith, running for 131 metres and recording 18 tackles in just 38 minutes off the bench.

Most importantly however, was that Palasia was able to string together time on the park after enduring a horror run of injuries throughout his career, including having to come back from three ACL tears all before the age of 24.

The back rower knows it won’t be easy to break into a forward pack brimming with representative stars like Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, David Fifita and Moeaki Fotuaika, but Palasia believes he brings a bit to the table.

“It was more just trying to further my career, and it was kind of hard to do at the Broncos with so many established players,” he said.

“In saying that, I didn’t come here expecting to slot straight into the 17 with players like Tino, Moe, Isaac Liu and guys like that.

“I hope can contribute a bit of ball playing, a motor, and a winning culture to this forward pack.”

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