Five-eighth Tyrone Roberts will turn to former Knights mentor Timana Tahu for one last pearl of wisdom before he leads the Gold Coast Titans for the first time in Saturday's clash with the Wests Tigers in Tamworth.
The season-ending knee injury suffered by Ryan James stripped coach Garth Brennan of not only a key forward but his team's captain, consulting with head of culture Mal Meninga, chairman Dennis Watt and owners Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle before informing Roberts of his decision.
The 27-year-old shed a tear in his car after he was told he was in contention to take over from James, the likes of Kevin Proctor and Michael Gordon the other senior players considered.
A key figure in both of Gold Coast's two recent wins, Roberts captained the Titans in their pre-season trial against the Cowboys but said leading the side in an NRL game was an honour he never expected.
"I'm honoured," Roberts said. "When Garth told me yesterday that I was in contention I had to go and sit in my car and shed a little tear because I was so emotional.
"It's a big part to be responsible for the whole team and to represent my family and everything that's involved. I'm proud and honoured.
Match Highlights: Titans v Knights
"Being a half you have to take control on the field and it felt normal [on Sunday against the Knights]. Now you think about it when it comes to representing your family and the club and all the players alongside you look up to a player like yourself, it's a big deal.
"I had to take a couple of seconds yesterday just to realise what the club means."
It's a dramatic reversal for a player who just 18 months ago wasn't considered one of the best two halves in the club.
Since he has returned he has become something of a sounding board for the young players at the Titans, performing a role that Newcastle legend Timana Tahu filled for him when he came into the Knights' first grade side as a 19-year-old in 2011.
"I had some great leaders at the Knights but having an Aboriginal background I had Timana Tahu to talk to," Roberts explained.
"He was a big stepping stone for me to lean on someone and share my opinion.
"Because of the way he represented his country and himself and with Aboriginal and Maori background, that's someone who I leaned on for advice and I still do. I'm sure I'll give him a phone call and ask him for some more advice.
"I had great skippers in Kurt Gidley, Danny Buderus, great leaders in the club.
"I've learnt a lot from the past and hopefully I can share that with the younger generation.
"I want to be approachable as a captain. I want to see the young kids coming through the club who want to ask a strong question be able to come to me.
"That's the role I was doing before and now that I've got the 'c' I don't want that to change."
Match: Wests Tigers v Titans
Round 7 -
Venue: Scully Park, Tamworth
- LIVE PASS
Prior to 2019 the only game that Titans hooker Mitch Rein had played with Roberts was for Country Origin in 2014 and said that he is a far more vocal player than he was five years ago.
"He does lead with his actions but he also has a lot to say as well," Rein told NRL.com.
"I noticed since he's been back here he's older and more mature. I played with him at City-Country a few years ago and he was a bit quieter then.
"He always had the skills but just noticing a huge difference from now to then. At training and video sessions he's always got a lot to say and what he says matters.
"He's leading us around the park at the moment and doing really well the last couple of weeks.
"It's gone to the right guy."