Bystander to showpiece: Moylan's return to Allianz
Twelve months ago Matt Moylan walked through the gates of Allianz Stadium for a finals series he would take no part in, an exit from a Panthers outfit that had planned to build around him for the next decade already in motion.
On Saturday Moylan returns to the same ground for the first time, out the other side of the most dizzying contract merry-go-round in memory, a key cog in Cronulla's bid for a second title in three years.
The captaincy that burdened him at Penrith is no longer an issue. Neither are the hamstring concerns that plagued that last season out west and the start of this one in The Shire.
The reticence around the "personal issues" that saw him sitting in the Allianz crowd while the Panthers downed Manly, remains.
Understandably, there's no interest in talking about Anthony Griffin's axing either, or the coach's comments that more than anything else, he would have handled one of the brightest prospects in Penrith's history differently if he had his time over.
For Moylan, that is all history. Not to say he hasn't learned from it. But he definitely doesn't want to talk about it ahead of his return to Allianz, scene of Saturday's mouth-watering showdown with the Roosters.
"I think I matured from the whole situation as well," he said on Wednesday.
"It was definitely a learning curve for me and I've moved on and I'm just enjoying my footy.
"Obviously [it] was frustrating, I wanted to be out there and playing this time of year [in 2017]. But that's in the past now and I'm looking forward to this weekend."
Sharks co-captain Wade Graham has known Moylan longer than most, growing up two kilometres away from him during their primary school days.
The headlines and innuendo around his mate last September had him checking in on Moylan's well-being, not his contract status.
"From a friend point of view it was to see how he was going off the field, he was fine to me when I was speaking to him," Graham said.
"He was the same old Matty, he's a pretty happy go lucky guy. He just gets around, he does his thing."
By November Moylan had traded No.6 jumpers with James Maloney, and Moylan was doing his thing in black, white and blue, though he freely admits "it took a while".
Hamstring and knee issues that went hand in hand hampered his form early in the season. So too the adjustment to an experienced team full of "strong personalities", as Graham puts it.
Six try-assists against Newcastle in May were a good sign. Carving up Penrith in his first return to the foot of the mountains in July a better one.
And with Cronulla boasting more experience than any other team in 2018, Graham sees Moylan heating up daily just as the competition does likewise.
"Coming to the Sharks was a good opportunity to be around other experienced players," Graham said.
"I know Penrith a doing wonderful things out there but a lot of their side is young. There's a couple of senior blokes but the rest of the age group is really young.
"I think for Matty to get into an environment like this, with a few other experienced players and not so much pressure on him, it just allows him to sit back and come to training, train and worry about himself, get out on the field and just worry about his own job.
"It's allowed him to take that step back and freshen up. Mature a bit and have a different view of things and you're always learning, whether you're 21, 31 or 41, in whatever walk of life."
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