Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed Herman Ese'ese will leave the club at the end of the season, with the promising young prop set to depart Brisbane to join the Newcastle Knights next year.
It is a huge blow for the Broncos who offered Ese'ese a lifeline in 2016 after the Auckland-born forward moved to Brisbane without a contract and was forced to live on his manger's couch.
Within three months Broncos feeder team Souths Logan had signed him before Brisbane offered him a contract for the 2016 season.
Since then the 22-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds, with the 2017 season becoming his best yet as he forced his way into Wayne Bennett's starting side.
Ese'ese has started eight games this year, but a recent knee injury has cruelly stalled that momentum and he will now spend at least three weeks on the sidelines.
It is a minor setback and despite his looming departure, Bennett said Ese'ese still has more football to play for the Broncos before he leaves for the Knights.
"He's injured [at the moment]. He got injured playing for Souths on the weekend. He would be playing against Newcastle [on Saturday night] if he was fit but he's not," Bennett said.
"With rehab it will probably be another two weeks before he is back. He did a medial last Sunday."
Ese'ese will be a welcome inclusion at the Knights in 2018, with the rebuilding side struggling to make metres up the middle this season.
Newcastle rank 14th in the competition for run metres, but they will surely improve with Ese'ese starting in the forwards next year.
A guaranteed starting position and an offer Brisbane could not match are the reasons for Ese'ese's departure, according to Bennett.
"He's going to Newcastle. He's going," he confirmed.
"He's done great but that's how the salary cap works. He was looking for a little bit more income and we couldn't match that."
The Broncos will face the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night as they look to try and force their way back into the top four.
They have received a boost with star five-eighth Anthony Milford returning from a shoulder injury ahead of schedule.