Former Broncos prodigy Corey Norman is enjoying life at new club Parramatta. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Of all the challenges new Parramatta coach Brad Arthur faces this year – and there are a few of them – solving the league's latest outbreak of homesick players probably isn't at the top of his list.
Whether it's the dramas surrounding Ben Barba, Jamal Idris or Anthony Milford, rugby league certainly hasn't proven to be immune to the struggles of life away from family.
But new five-eighth Corey Norman promises he's not going to join a worryingly mounting list of discontent stars who left home in search for an opportunity.
"It hasn't really bothered me so far, to be honest," Norman told reporters on Wednesday.
"That stuff doesn't really bother me. I can always get on my phone and talk to my family. I'm only an hour and a half flight away from Queensland so that stuff hasn't bothered me. I'm enjoying Sydney at the moment, it's good."
Part of the reason might be because he is about 1000 kilometres away from the spotlight that came with once being the heir to Darren Lockyer's throne.
Or another factor could be the relentless, fishbowl torture that came with running out for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls last season instead of the Broncos jersey he wore as a kid.
Either way, even though he arrived without any friends or family in a 500 kilometre radius, the former Bronco insists the Sydney weather won't give him homesickness.
"I wouldn't say it's good [being out of Brisbane]. Obviously I loved the Broncos. I've been there since I was a kid. But in saying that, it's a good, fresh start down here and I'm looking forward to it."
Norman, 22, denied rumours that his feet were cooling at the thought of joining a team on its way to a second wooden spoon last season. But he didn't deny experiencing shock when he heard the man who lured him to western Sydney – former Eels coach Ricky Stuart – decided to head home himself.
"Obviously there were whispers around in social media, but I found out just on the news," Norman said of Stuart's return to Canberra. "At the time I was a bit shocked but other than that you can't change what he's done. He's done what he's done for a reason so I just came down here with a positive attitude."
The appointment of Brad Arthur, who has a reputation for being a players' coach, should help. Particularly after the frosty relationship Norman suffered with the stout Anthony Griffin over the past two years.
"Brad likes to include us players which is good and obviously we think something needs to change and we need to do something else," he said. "He's very good. We can approach him and let him know our ideas."
But the main point here is that the kid just wants to play. Pressure and expectation followed his every step from Beenleigh to Red Hill, and while Sydney is a whole new fishbowl of its own, the fresh start has given him a new lease on life.
"I haven't really thought about [my role] to be honest," he said. "I just want to be myself and have a good time with the boys and obviously switch on when I need to switch on."