Not long after his first Origin series, Tyrone Peachey had some time to himself and realised a move to the Gold Coast Titans would be ''tougher than I thought''.
Just 48 hours before potentially his final game for Penrith, Peachey declared his preference was to remain in his new western Sydney home with his young family, rather than take up a lucrative three-year deal with the Titans.
He never said he would backflip on the Titans, but the NSW Origin utility could not have been clearer his fiancee, Kellie, and their daughter Penelope, were in no mood to leave Sydney.
The Panthers quickly declared they had no room in their salary cap to accommodate Peachey in 2019, while the Titans were even quicker to state Peachey would honour his deal, which is reportedly worth about $1.4 million.
Penrith were busy freeing up salary cap space at the start of the year – and building their war chest for halfback Nathan Cleary – when Peachey's deal was rubber-stamped.
You now get the feeling negotiations unfolded quicker than Peachey would have liked.
"From the start, Gus [Gould] spoke to me about the deal with the Goldie [Titans]," Peachey said. "I didn't know how to take it. I love Penrith, my baby was born here, and it's a place I call home.
"I didn't think about it much because it was around the Origin period. Once things settled, it was going to be tougher than we thought.
"My missus is happy here and I think moving away from the family will be tough. We have a little girl and she'll probably need some help [raising her] the next few years. She doesn't know anybody up there. I told her we'd worry about it later.
"I'd love to stay, but I also know with contracts, they need money for Nath [Cleary], they've just upgraded 'Reg' [Reagan Campbell-Gillard], so I know how it works.
"It had to happen and I understand that ... if someone was to come to me and say they wanted me to stay, I'd stay.
"I've played with most of these blokes the past five years. I started in the same pre-season with Reg, Dallin [Watene-Zelezniak] and 'Yowie' [Isaah Yeo]. We've been around each other more than our own families.
"It would be hard starting fresh. I know a few blokes up there. I just want my missus to be happy and our daughter to be happy.''
The Panthers have no room in their cap and also extended the deals for Viliame Kikau and Jack Hetherington after Peachey had put pen to paper up north.
Should Peachey and the Titans become involved in a stand-off, no shortage of Sydney clubs would be interested in the fleet-footed utility.
Wests Tigers have two available spots on their roster, as well as enough money, and Ivan Cleary, who coached Peachey at Penrith.
Gold Coast boss Graham Annesley told Fairfax Media there had been no contact from Peachey and he had been left alone to focus on the Panthers' finals campaign.
The Titans were famously burned by Daly Cherry-Evans, but said there would be no such backflip from Peachey.
"He's got a legally binding contract he signed months ago, which we expect him to honour,'' Annesley said.
"There's no such thing as a backflip provision in contracts. And we've made recruitment and retention decisions on the back of his signing. We expect him to honour the contract.
"We've never been asked for a release. It's an easy decision from our perspective.''
Clearly still popular at the foot of the mountains, Peachey had plenty of teammates hoping he was not about to play his final few games for the club.
"Everyone knows how good he is and while I'm not telling him to backflip, if he stays it will be good for us,'' Watene-Zelezniak said.
Meanwhile, Peachey said the experience he gained from Origin had helped him prepare for the high-stakes finals football.
He will mark up on Ricky Leutele, who is bound for the Toronto Wolfpack next year, and played in the Holden Cup together at the Sharks.
"I think having Freddy [Fittler] and Danny Buderus and 'Brandy' [Greg Alexander] all in camp, and how they go about big games and prepared us for Origin, I took a lot out of it,'' Peachey said.
"I'm hoping when the time comes and the team needs something, I can do something special.''
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.