Joseph Tapine is hoping for a friendly reception when he returns to Newcastle next month playing in his new NRL colours with Canberra.
The 21-year-old has already circled the round three match at Hunter Stadium between his old and new club the Raiders, whom he trained with for the first time on Thursday.
“I definitely want to be in that (game),” he said.
“You always want to play an old club and get to play the boys.
“I don’t how they’ll feel, but hopefully it’ll be a good (reception).”
Tapine was the subject of an ugly tug-of-war between the two teams for most of the pre-season, before finally being released by the Knights this week.
He packed up and left for the nation’s capital with his partner on Wednesday morning and just hours later signed a new four-year deal with the Raiders starting this season, with the option for a fifth season in 2020.
“It was a quick move,” said the Junior Kiwi, who was benched in the Knights’ trial last weekend and faced the prospect of playing in the NSW Cup in 2016.
Tapine arrived to a few familiar faces at Raiders HQ, including ex-Knight Joey Leilua and new recruit and former roommate Adam Clydesdale.
While Clydesdale made the introduction to his new teammates easier, and the welcome was warm, the backrower admitted it hadn’t been easy leaving Newcastle.
He had been at the club since he was 18 and played 20 games in the past two seasons.
Not to mention the constant speculation and media coverage of the standoff.
“I had family and my partner there, so they helped me out a lot,” he said.
“It’s over now.
“It’s hard leaving the boys, the friends you make there. That was the hard bit.
“I’m just looking forward to (playing) footy, just trying to prepare for that and getting to know the boys and the structure here.”
The Raiders kick off their 2016 campaign against Penrith at GIO Stadium on March 5.