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The thought of lining up opposite the club that saved his NRL career left Penrith recruit Zane Tetevano contemplating retirement in October.

"Or go to Super League and try something new," he said.  

Such was the impact the Roosters had on Tetevano during their three-year relationship, he was prepared to walk away from the game after a successful stint back in the NRL. 

Tetevano won a premiership in 2018 and was handed Trent Robinson's premiership ring 12 months later as the team made history with back-to-back titles.

"Honestly, it was a conversation I had with my partner after the season where we were contemplating whether to just finish up," Tetevano told

"It was my time to move on and I respected that but I thought, 'do I continue?' I couldn't see myself playing against the Roosters with loyalty to my old teammates and things like that."

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Enthusiasm is something Tetevano felt slip towards the end of last year with the Tricolours despite the side's success. It led to his grand final demotion.

"I felt in 2017 and 2018 I was flying with travelling from the Central Coast to Sydney every day and then in 2019 I was stale and tempted to move permanently but didn't," he said. 

"You can't say travel affected performances but it could have towards the end and I didn't want to feel that again. It must have taken a toll out of me.

"It was an up-down kind of year. I felt it, no one else might have because they look at the team."

A phone call from Penrith's head of performance Hayden Knowles ultimately landed Tetevano in the lap of the Western Sydney club after he and partner Mikayla Bailey had a change of heart towards playing on. The deal was announced in December.

"Hayden was the first call so we hooked up a meeting, saw the boys training hard and I didn't think twice about it – pen to paper and it was done," Tetevano said.

"I'm excited for the new challenge, I feel refreshed. I didn't realise how young they were here. I still feel young but the way they move and compete at training with their enthusiasm freaks me out.

"The move has motivated me again and now it's about starting again and creating success here."

Tetevano moved to Penrith over the summer break and won't have to wait long to face his fears when the Panthers host the Roosters in the opening round of the 2020 season.

"I didn't even know, my missus called and said it was round one so it was meant to be," he said. 

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