Jai Arrow sat down with Michael Maguire in late 2019 and gave serious consideration to joining the Wests Tigers.
He liked what he heard from the coach, but the prestige of South Sydney convinced him to swap the Gold Coast for Redfern in 2021.
Still, he saw the promise in the Tigers' roster, so the forward won't underestimate them in Saturday's clash at Stadium Australia.
"I spoke to a few clubs and that was one of them but I obviously chose to come to Souths," Arrow told NRL.com on Wednesday.
"[Maguire] flew up to the Gold Coast and met me there. I definitely was weighing up my options. And don't get me wrong, I wasn't counting out any club. I wanted to do the best thing for myself.
"Looking at Madge [Maguire], he's won a comp, he expects the best from you. I think they do have a quality side.
"It's just they've sort of struggled the last couple of weeks. Not only that, they've scored some points as well - they just haven’t been able to get the job done. I have no doubt that they'll be out firing."
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As for why he decided on a four-year Rabbitohs deal?
"No disrespect to the Tigers, but the proud history of Souths and obviously Wayne Bennett and the coaching staff here is second-to-none," the Queensland State of Origin winner said.
"Being back with Wayne and [assistant] Jason Demetriou helped," added Arrow, who played under the coaches at Brisbane.
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"The squad and the class of the players here was an attraction."
While the Rabbitohs are flying high in third spot after four straight wins, the Tigers are 13th with a solitary victory.
Maguire has handed talented hooker Jake Simpkin his NRL debut in the starting team, with Jacob Liddle dropped to the reserves.
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South Sydney have already begun analysing the newbie.
"We know he is a good runner of the ball," Arrow said.
"There were a few videos there - he's scored some tries [six in five NSW Cup games - first in the competition]. He likes to run from dummy-half and he looks deceptively strong as well."
Arrow wishes Simpkin well - but not too well. And he said the 19-year-old can expect plenty of traffic in defence.
"When a young kid comes into the team and especially when they’re on their NRL debut, you want to welcome him to the game," he said.
“And not only him, but we want to make their whole team work and hopefully score some points and put on a show for our fans."
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Prop Patrick Mago added: "We know [Simpkin] is a good runner and offers a bit, so we'll be watching him.
"[Coming off a loss] does make the Tigers dangerous.
"We can't take them lightly. I think that's like every other team, whether they're coming first or last - you've got to take every game seriously."