On several occasions last year it looked like Josh Addo-Carr would not be lining up for the Storm again in 2021.
But after finally sorting his playing future for this season and beyond, and then being stuck in northern NSW for several weeks due to border closures, the NSW and Australian winger is finally back in Melbourne.
His first priority is to prepare for what he hopes is a premiership-winning farewell to the club that made him a star before joining Trent Barrett's Bulldogs rebuild.
Asked on Thursday if he would seek an earlier release to head home to Sydney sooner, Addo-Carr instead lauded the Storm's system as a perfect place for any up-and-coming footballer.
"Wherever I go I always tell young fellas if they ever get the opportunity to come to the Melbourne Storm, take it," Addo-Carr said.
Welch tips more Munster magic
"Just because you learn what rugby league is. You learn a lot about yourself and where you want to go in your footy career.
"I tell all the young fellas, if you ever get an opportunity to come to the Storm take it because that's when you'll become a rugby league player and hopefully a first-grade player."
Addo-Carr was glad to have his future settled and said Barrett's recent arrival from a stint as a Panthers assistant was a big part of his reason to join the Dogs after he had earlier signed a heads of agreement to join the Wests Tigers if the Storm granted him an early release to leave the club this season.
King focused on NRL return
"Just the opportunity, I spoke to Trent a couple of times on the phone," he said.
"Penrith had a really successful year last year ... that got me over the line. I'm super excited that my future's settled but my focus here is on the Storm.
"I haven't really thought about it too much. I know my future's settled. It is what it is. I'm just here enjoying my time with my teammates here. I absolutely love the club. I enjoy coming to training every day."
The extra time away from the club, while unplanned, did help him refresh for the season ahead, he added.
"It's been a strange one. I obviously had a bit more time off than everyone else," he said.
"It's been good to see the boys, the coaching staff, some of the new faces that are in the club now. It's good to be back in Melbourne as well.
"It was me and [Storm teammate] George Jennings up there just training with a couple of young fellas from the local community come in and help us. The locals came down and gave us a hand which was really helpful."