Edrick Lee was so intent on getting himself and his young family out of the "frantic" pace of Sydney, his former club Cronulla had no idea he'd signed with the Newcastle Knights last June until he let the cat out of the bag.
So secretive were the negotiations, not even his close mate at the Sharks, Jesse Ramien, who had signed with Newcastle six months prior, knew what he was up to.
"I didn't even tell Jesse because I sort of wanted to handle things pretty quietly," Lee revealed.
"I had my sights set on Newcastle if the opportunity arose here and when it did, I didn't want anyone to try and talk me out of it because it felt right for me and my family. Only my manager, my partner and the Knights knew what was happening."
By the time the Sharks found out about it, it was too late. The deal had already been done.
"Yeah, they were obviously pretty disappointed I made my decision early and didn't give them an opportunity to try and re-sign me," he said.
"But the opportunity up here with the different lifestyle - it really suits me and my family so I wanted to grab it. I didn't mind Sydney but it was probably a bit too fast-paced and frantic for me to be honest.
"Knowing Jesse was also coming just made the decision even easier.'"
After playing predominantly on the right edge outside Ramien at the Sharks, Lee has been switched to the left side but has the advantage of playing on the same edge as Kalyn Ponga so it certain to get plenty of opportunities.
"I've been working hard on the new combinations with KP [Ponga] and Fitzy [Lachlan Fitzgibbon] there on the left and also Sione [Mata'utia] and Hymel [Hunt] - whoever fills that left centre spot," he said.
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Coach Nathan Brown admits he's been pleasantly surprised with Lee since he joined the club.
"Edrick's going really well and to be honest, he's an even better player than I thought he was," he said.
"When you work with him, you realise just how good his natural instincts are. And I think the big thing with Edrick is he's going to get more and more confident and he's got even more improvement left in him."
While the trial against his former club didn't go to plan in Maitland, Lee is excited to be coming up against the Sharks again in round one.
"It's been a challenging pre-season with lots of new players but I feel like we are coming together as a team," he said.
"I'm excited - I think all the boys are. It's going to be a big night for everyone."