New Titans fullback Corey Thompson says while it was tough leaving the Wests Tigers, the opportunities presented by a three-year deal on the Gold Coast were too great to pass up.
The 30-year-old Souths Logan product has never had a chance to play NRL in his home state, moving from the Storm system to Canterbury to the UK Super League before returning to Wests Tigers.
Further, the longer deal provides him and his family with more security after years of working hard forging a journeyman career.
It also gives him the chance to do what he most wants – play footy – after a frustrating spell on the sidelines due to the lack of a second-tier competition while missing out on selection in Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire's squad since the COVID-19 shutdown.
Thompson had to endure a little more frustration as an expected move was delayed by a fortnight as Maguire wanted to ensure some niggling injuries in his outside backs didn't leave the club short in rounds four and five.
New Titan Thompson ready to rip in
"I didn't get the all-clear until Saturday night. I was at the Tigers game [against Canberra] and got told 'we'll give you an answer after the game'," Thompson said on Thursday in his first media session since switching to the Titans.
"The house was packed [up], I was sitting at the Tigers game then about 9:30 I got the all clear and drove up to the Gold Coast at 5:30 Sunday morning."
Thompson stressed his relationship with Maguire remained positive throughout and it was only the final two weeks of waiting that had been frustrating.
Titans v Dragons - Round 6
"I didn't get chosen for the first game back after isolation and that's fair enough, the coach went a different way.
"I told them I'm still keen to put in and represent the club but the Titans opportunity came up and it was great.
"I haven't been back [to Queensland] for so long and to come back to a club that's building and the excitement and to have my family so close was a bonus as well.
"Everything was positive, myself and Madge did everything the right way.
"All we did was talk to each other face to face and he backed me, he didn't want me to leave but he also knew what a great opportunity it was for myself. No-one spoke behind each other's backs, there was no bad blood."
Thompson said he had enjoyed jumping straight in the deep end at training and taking over the fullback role from close mate Phillip Sami, who supported the recruitment.
Fullbacks in the frontline dominant in Round 5
"The boys here have welcomed me so much, they're helping me on the run, talking to me on where they want me. It's a simple job, support the big boys and listen to the halves where they want me," he said.
"They're a young team that's building. I looked at the boys they had on paper, Ash Taylor, the young forwards, Sammy [Lisone] and Moey [Fotuaika], they're players I can really play to my strengths with, young forwards that love offloading and running hard.
"That's my strength, supporting the big boys and finding those quick rucks and exploiting it."