Panthers new recruit Jamal Idris has rejected claims he arrived in the new year out of shape, saying he was at the same playing weight for last year's season kick-off.
While the official reason for Idris' release from the Titans was due to homesickness, it has been asserted that the club wasn't impressed when the one-time Origin representative returned from the festive season having had one too many Christmas turkeys.
"It's funny [about] that being said. I was at the same place I was last year. I don't know who's bagging me, but at the end of the day I was at the same weight, same skinfolds that I was last year," he told NRL.com.
"A lot of people bagged me the year before but I guarantee they weren't bagging me last year." – Jamal Idris
Idris, 23, said that while he didn't totally regret his move to south-east Queensland in 2012, he bemoaned his longstanding battles with homesickness and injuries that cruelled his two years there.
Asked why he didn't reach his potential on the Gold Coast, Idris told reporters on Monday: "2012 was full of injury. I had that 8-10cm hamstring tear, I had two plantar fasciitis [injuries], I was coming off the back of wrist surgery, [and] I had double hip surgery at the end of it as well. So you tell me."
The former Bulldog played just 15 games last year, the least amount of games in a season since his rookie campaign in 2008.
When he managed to get on the field, however, the former Kangaroo proved a handful, averaging 136 metres per game and tallying 35 offloads.
But not only did his rotten luck with injury limit his time on the field, it conspired to work against him off of it as he struggled through long stints in rehab. Idris denied labelling his move to the Gold Coast as a mistake.
"To be honest, I made some great mates," he said. "The only thing that was hard and upsetting for me was not having my family there. Family's everything. They brought me into this world. It's as simple as that. They raised me.
"In saying that, when I first moved up there, my ex was with me, I had a couple of mates from Foster move into my house. But at the end of the day, it's lonely. You're by yourself."
Now, having moved in with mum Alana in Regents Park, a fresh start awaits him at the foot of the mountains where he has declared that for the first time in a long time, he's fully fit and not overweight.
"A lot of people bagged me the year before but I guarantee they weren't bagging me last year," he said.
"At the moment I'm feeling really good. I'm where I want to be. I'd be where I was last year, coming into Round 1."