Robbie Farah saw the writing on the wall in June last year. His minutes were dropping and he knew a heavily back-ended contract would bring with it question marks over his value to the team.
Weighed down by the relentless controversy at the club, Farah admits he began to contemplate an exit strategy from the NRL, holding talks with his manager about a move to the English Super League months before the "leave or play NSW Cup" bombshell was dropped on him.
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World All Stars upset Indigenous All Stars
The World All Stars have upset the Indigenous All Stars for the first time since 2012 with a bruising 12-8 victory at Suncorp Stadium that also saw no serious injuries sustained by any player.
It wasn't the fact he was told to leave. "I'm big enough to understand that footy is a business," he tells you.
But it's the manner in which last year's meeting with coach Jason Taylor unfolded that left the veteran hooker feeling disrespected, given what he had sacrificed for the club over the previous decade.
"I don't want to go into what happened in that meeting, but I was unhappy with the way I was spoken to and the things that were said," Farah told Fairfax Media.
"If I'm being honest, it was wrong. It was disrespectful. But we've moved on from that. It was upsetting, it wasn't nice, but everyone has put their hand up and admitted their wrongs."
Taylor and Farah are never going to be friends. Nor do they have to be.
But the pair insist they've reached a peaceful resolution and have a professional working relationship after Taylor apologised to the NSW No.9 in front of his teammates during the pre-season.
"I think there's a right way and a wrong way to go about things ... and we just had some honest conversations about it," Farah said of the peace talks.
"JT admitted there was stuff he shouldn't have said and apologised to me for that. Between everyone we came up with a resolution. Myself and JT have been professional throughout it, we had to be considering there were a whole bunch of players here looking at the coach and captain at the time.
"I'm big enough to understand that footy is a business. I'm not immune to that. But the way everything happened was very disappointing.
"There are circumstances there I don't want to bring up, but a lot of things happened ... everyone can form an opinion on it, but there definitely were things that happened that weren't nice and weren't necessary considering how long I've been at this club and the effort I have put into my job here for a very long time."
Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, you'll hear two different opinions of the 32-year-old heading into the final two years of his contract at the joint venture.
Most who play with him say you'll never play with a more committed footballer. But there are also those who believe his presence is toxic to a team's culture.
Blues coach Laurie Daley made it clear where he stood after publicly backing the besieged hooker when he was told he would play NSW Cup if he didn't leave the club.
"Laurie coming out and saying he'd pick me from reserve grade, I can't even tell you what that did for me," Farah said.
"The loyalty he showed to me and the fact he came out publicly and said it, it meant everything to me. I'd run through a brick wall for him. I wouldn't let him down because of the loyalty he showed me.
"He's a legend of the game, so for him to come out and say how big a part I am of the NSW culture and leadership group there, I listened to that, not the other stuff being said about me."
A decision by Farah to stand down from the captaincy has left him refreshed and rejuvenated, admitting he has finally remembered what it's like to have fun playing rugby league.
But at one point it looked as though Farah would finish his career elsewhere, sounding out interest from the Sydney Roosters before the Tigers backflipped on their original decision to show the former skipper the door.
"At the end of the day, if I had to go, I would have gone," Farah said. "But from day one I said it would be on my terms.
"When all of it started we didn't have a CEO, but then Justin Pascoe came in and spoke to me and he told me he wanted me here. In the end he wasn't entertaining the thought of letting me go. That threw a curve ball into it all."
But even before Taylor's ultimatum, Farah was already considering walking away from it all to escape the seemingly never-ending burden that came with his time at the Tigers.
"I remember sitting in the hotel around Origin III when I was out, I was sitting with my manager in the foyer up at the Sofitel," Farah said.
"I said to him, 'you know what, I'm done. I've got one more year left in me next year then I'm done. Get me out of here, get me overseas where I can just enjoy my footy'.
"I'm single, I have no kids, I can go and travel and see the world and play footy without all the stresses that come with it. I was thinking that at that time because everything had worn me down over a period of time."