Shaun Johnson landed on the Roosters recruitment radar twice in the past 18 months but he'll be their biggest threat when Cronulla take on the premiers on Saturday.
Johnson will make a timely return for the Sharks when they host the Tricolours, back from a quad strain to ease the loss of Matt Moylan (hamstring) and Aaron Woods (broken foot).
As he navigated a messy Warriors exit last year the Roosters had loomed as Johnson's most lucrative option.
The "easy thing" as Johnson described it in November, was to see out the final year of his $1 million Warriors contract before lining up at Bondi once Cooper Cronk had retired at the end of 2019.
NRL.com understands that Johnson also spoke to Roosters officials midway through 2017, the Kiwi playmaker sizing up a possible move to fullback and the red, white and blue when James Tedesco was being pursued at the Tigers.
In the end Johnson wound up in The Shire on a three-year deal, New Zealand teammate Joey Manu glad he has come out the other side of the contract saga that followed Johnson through last year's UK tour.
Cronk confident Mitchell will learn lesson
"He didn't talk about it too much, everyone could sort of see it going on," Manu said.
"But I was happy that he got a good deal, it was probably good for both clubs. Getting him out there, getting him away from the Warriors, he had been there for a long time.
"I became a good mate with him on tour and once he went over there I messaged him and said congrats and that. I'm happy to see him living out in Cronulla and enjoying it out there."
Johnson will have his hands full on the Sharks' right edge with Latrell Mitchell, and vice-versa for the NSW centre after unwanted headlines this week.
Mitchell was fined by police for failing to move on from a licensed premises near his home town of Taree over the weekend.
The Roosters have not sanctioned Mitchell over the incident, deeming his police infringement notice for arguing with security staff at the Old Bar Tavern punishment enough.
"I think what will happen here is [Mitchell] will get spoken to by Trent or the senior players and have a discussion around the expectations," Cronk told reporters.
"It's obviously not ideal with the current climate of players getting into trouble in headlines. But I think on the scale of relativity it's on the lower end from all reports.
"The lesson is, we are in a very privileged position to play the game we love and get paid handsomely to do so. He probably just can't do the things he used to do four years ago.
"Unfortunately a headline like this just overshadows the tremendous things Latrell does for Taree as a city but also the indigenous community."