Why Hoffman is returning to Melbourne
Some deals are based on opportunity. Others are financially driven. But for veteran back-rower Ryan Hoffman, the decision to re-join the Melbourne Storm was simply down to "the people".
The 33-year-old confirmed on Tuesday that he had inked a one-year deal to join the premiers in 2018 in what will be his third stint in the Victorian capital.
Hoffman started his career at the Storm in 2003 and played there for eight seasons, moved to the Wigan Warriors for a year and then returned to Melbourne where he played a further three seasons, scoring the opening try in their emotional grand final win in 2012.
The former rep star was made a life member at the Storm in 2013 and won three grand finals under coach Craig Bellamy, and after three seasons at the Warriors has decided to head back to where it all started to see out his career.
Touted as one of the best hole-runners in the game, the 2014 Brad Fittler Medallist will duke it out with rising star Joe Stimson for the left-edge position recently vacated by Tohu Harris who is set to head across the ditch to replace Hoffman at the Warriors.
It's a romantic way to end his career, and for Hoffman it was an easy choice given his close bonds with veterans Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, as well as his love for the organisation as a whole.
"I suppose I never thought I'd come back because I wasn't sure what was going to happen after I went to New Zealand, but the opportunity to come back to play for the premiers [presented itself] and it's something I'm really excited for," Hoffman told Storm TV.
"I love everything about this place, but the people make it. It starts at the top with how the club's run on the commercial side all the way through to the football department headed by Frank Ponissi and Craig Bellamy.
"I'm really excited to be back with a lot of my friends. There are a lot of people I hold very dear to my heart, but I'm also excited to be a part of a very successful club and looking to build on what the boys did with the premiership this year."
Hoffman will join a Storm side brimming with confidence after they destroyed the rest of the competition en route to a 34-6 grand final win over the Cowboys.
Having been on the wrong end of a couple of Melbourne masterclasses – in fact he lost all five clashes against them over the years – he's now looking forward to joining a club he believes was streaks ahead of the field in 2017.
"I think it was daylight second against them to be quite honest," he said.
"They were just that dominant throughout the year. I think it showed in the grand final; I think the grand final went the way everyone thought it would. Credit to the Cowboys because they were always going to put up a fight, but I have to admit I've never seen the Storm lose two grand finals in a row."