Koni: It's about earning boys' respect
Every time he tucks the Steeden under his arm and charges headlong into the opposition defence Konrad Hurrell is trying to prove a point.
Not to Warriors coach Andrew McFadden, who refused to select him in first grade before finally granting him a release, but to his new Titans teammates who have been working since November to earn another shot at finals football.
Friday night's elimination final against the Broncos represents the first finals appearance for Hurrell who signed with the Gold Coast on May 26 but took until Round 19 to cement his place in the team.
Since that day he has thrown himself into the fray like a man trying to make up for lost time.
He is averaging almost 169 metres in his past eight games and ran for a season-high 217 metres against the Cowboys last weekend.
It has not only made the Titans a more potent attacking force but also given them a valuable metre-eater coming out of territory, but for Hurrell each run is charged with the responsibility of proving that he belongs.
A false start against the Eels in round 14 saw him re-injure a calf muscle and spend three weeks on the sidelines, time he invested in making sure that when his chance came again he would make an instant impact.
"I got in and then obviously I got injured in my first game and I was out for another three weeks," Hurrell recalled.
"I took it hard on myself that I wasn't giving anything to the team and I just went in and trained hard for those three weeks.
"They're a tight group and for us [mid-season recruits] to get involved in that we needed to play well to earn their respect.
"I don't know what 'Peatsy' (Nathan Peats) did but he got straight into the squad in his first game.
"I needed to earn their respect and I just wanted to train hard and come in and do my job in the game.
"No one thought they would make it this far and they've done the hard job from pre-season.
"I didn't want to come in and disappoint them for all the work they have done from the start of the season and the off-season as well.
"I wanted to come in and make sure I play well and up to their standards."
The highlight reels are reserved for the long-range intercept tries such as he scored against the Cowboys last week or vision of Hurrell carrying three defenders across the line with him, but the respect of teammates is earned in far different ways.
Prop Luke Douglas says Hurrell's carries from deep inside the Titans' half have been greatly appreciated by the men in the middle.
"Koni's the joker and that but you see how good the starts to our sets have been because it has been taking three or four blokes to bring him down," Douglas told NRL.com.
"Making that half break with a quick play-the-ball, for us blokes to run off the back of that is awesome."
With officials at Suncorp Stadium predicting a crowd in excess of 45,000 and possibly as much as 50,000 it shapes as being the biggest crowd that Hurrell has ever played in front of.
Ever since he heard the roars playing schoolboy rugby union for Auckland Grammar against arch rivals Kings College Hurrell has responded to the energy of a crowd but he's never experienced anything like what is coming on Friday night.
The largest NRL crowd Hurrell has played before came in his debut for the Warriors in round 1, 2012 when 37,502 filled Eden Park in Auckland to see the home side play the Sea Eagles, but his first finals appearance promises to be at another level again.
"If you pull off a big play or something like that you can hear the crowd so hopefully they will come behind us and not the Broncos," said the 25-year-old Tongan international.
"If sometimes you make a big run or you score a try or something you can just hear the crowd but during the game you can't really hear them.
"It's the first time ever in my career that I've made it to the finals so I'm just more excited about that."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au
Konrad's player profile - CLICK HERE