Kostjasyn uneasy with 'mentor' tag
He'll add some much-needed NRL experience to a young Newcastle outfit, but just don't label Rory Kostjasyn as a mentor.
With both he and his partner having grown up on the Central Coast, the 2015 premiership-winner said the opportunity to move closer friends and family as well the chance to work with some of the NRL's brightest young talent proved an opportunity too good to ignore.
Restricted to light training duties following off-season surgeries on both his elbow and abdomen, Kostjasyn outlined how he saw himself fitting into the Knights set-up – saying his past experiences would benefit the squad as a whole, and not just hookers Danny Levi and Tyler Randell.
"I don't see myself as a mentor or anything, I haven't come here with that goal," Kostjasyn said.
"I'm just here to try and help our team improve. Whether that's working the hookers or just working as part of the team, that's something that I've tried to do for many years now whenever I'm in a team… just try and help us improve and that'll help me improve and help the side win some footy games hopefully."
A member of the Cowboys' inaugural title-winning side and part of the Storm's wider squad as they tasted premiership success in 2012, Kostjasyn has played alongside some of the game's elite for a number of seasons.
While the Roosters junior found it tough to leave such a successful club in North Queensland, Kostjasyn said he was torn by more than just the potential for further on-field success.
"It's hard to break friendships that have been forged through some hard work and some enjoyable times," the 29-year-old said.
"Probably the best times of my life have been up in North Queensland. I've got some really good mates up there. Leaving them was the hard part.
"The footy side… Footy's footy. It's a business now and you've got to do what's right for you at the time. The footy side wasn't so hard but just leaving those friendships was pretty difficult."
While the Knights secured Kostjasyn's services on a two-year deal, he isn't the only member of Paul Green's Cowboys squad that could be lured to the Hunter. Highly-rated teenage fullback Kalyn Ponga could also be on his way to Newcastle as early as next season, with speculation rife that the youngster will be in Knights colours no later than 2018.
Having seen what Ponga is capable of first hand, Kostjasyn expressed his excitement at the potential of linking up with his former teammate but was keen to see him thrive in the NRL regardless of where his future lies.
"I think any footy side would be excited that Kalyn might potentially [be joining them]," Kostjasyn said.
"I think like anyone who knows Kalyn, that's outside of footy or one of his teammates, they just want to see what's best for Kalyn and hope he's happy and enjoying his footy.
"He's a very talented guy and a really good person. I just wish him good luck with his decision."
Kostjasyn will commence full training with the Newcastle NRL squad following the Christmas break.