New Zealand lock David Bhana has joined the Newcastle Knights and is excited by the opportunity to make his mark at the Club.
The 22-year-old landed in Australia on Sunday before fronting up to Knights headquarters at Wests Mayfield for his first day of pre-season training on Monday morning.
“It’s a bit warmer than I’m used to, but the boys have been really welcoming which is good,” Bhana, who has signed a two-year contract, said.
Bhana began playing with the New Zealand Warriors as a member of the Under 20s side before claiming representative honours with the Junior Kiwis.
He then progressed to play in the NSW Cup competition and is determined to make his NRL debut in the red and blue in 2016.
“It didn’t quite work out for me over there, but I’m really looking forward to playing well under (coach) Nathan (Brown) and trying to make my mark on the NRL,” he said.
“Nathan called me up and was really keen to get me over.
“He talked to a few of the Warriors boys and they complimented me on my work ethic.
“That’s what really impressed him so he’s looking to give me an opportunity if I work hard for it, so that’s what I plan to do.”
The promising young talent describes himself as a loose forward but has experience playing at hooker, second row and prop.
“I think that utility value will work in my favour,” he added.
Bhana meets some familiar faces at the Knights including Joe Tapine who was a Junior Kiwis teammate as well as NSW Cup Knight James Taylor.
“I go a bit further back with James. We used to play together in U6s and his dad was our first coach,’ he explained.
“We are all staying together now, so it’s been a bit of a reunion and has been fun.”
Along with his passion for rugby league, Bhana has completed a Bachelor of Science and Environmental Science and is studying a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Management.
“I think this year I’ll put that on hold because I really want to give footy a good go,” he said.
“Hopefully I can always go back to that later.
“To play NRL is definitely my main goal.”
As he prepares to take on the challenges of pre-season training with the Knights NRL squad on Thursday, Bhana said he’s eager to meet his new teammates.
“I’m definitely looking forward to training with Jeremy Smith and have looked up to him with his feats with the Kiwis and winning the Cup,” he concluded.