His Penrith exit seemed abrupt but Bryce Cartwright has revealed a phone call from Gold Coast mentor Garth Brennan four months ago planted the seed for his 'shock' Titans move.
Cartwright, 23, officially began life as a Titan on Friday with his first training session after what appeared to be a surprise departure just two years into a five season Panthers deal.
The prized recruit admitted he was glad to be out of Sydney but denied a rift with Panthers coach Anthony Griffin.
Cartwright said it was difficult earning a backrow spot at Penrith and he craved a fresh start after a nightmare 2017 plagued by injury and off field drama.
The Titans coach had been tight with Cartwright since grooming the NRL prodigy as his Penrith Under 20s coach.
They kept in touch often during his troubled 2017 but it was a phone call in October that stood out for a disillusioned Cartwright.
"I always had a close relationship with Garth, I can go to him with anything and he was there last year for me," Cartwright said.
"We spoke in October and he mentioned it (Titans move) to me.
"I didn't think too much about it.
"As time went on I thought about it more. I just thought it was a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and have a fresh start with a young family."
Cartwright became the third Panther recruited by the Titans while former Penrith skipper Matt Moylan made a high profile move to Cronulla.
But Cartwright hosed down speculation he had fallen out with Griffin despite his clear frustration at being slotted into the Panthers halves.
"There are a lot of good backrowers down there (and) I was playing in the halves which is where I don't want to play," Cartwright said.
"I feel I am better suited at lock or on the edge (second row).
"I thought if I stay here I won't get as much minutes on the field so to improve this is the best place to do it."
Asked about Griffin, Cartwright said: "I had a great relationship with Hook (Griffin).
"He is a straight up guy, really honest, a hard worker.
"He gave me a ring as soon as this happened and wished me the best."
Cartwright looked forward to the Titans' opening trial next weekend against Brisbane in Toowoomba, far away from the Sydney fishbowl.
Just the way he likes it.
"Definitely. Getting out of Sydney and a fresh start with my young family (was a factor)," Cartwright said.
"The last 12 months have been really tough but I have a great support system and a five week old son which keeps me on my toes.
"When I spoke to (Penrith boss Phil Gould) it was upsetting but he thought it was the right move and we worked something out."
Australian Associated Press