After finally claiming the jersey he left home for two years ago, Gerard Beale is relishing a return to Brisbane with the Dragons No 1 on his back, looking to sink his former club's finals hopes.
Beale played 63 games for the Broncos after debuting in 2009 when emerging as one of the best club's best junior prospects.
But with former under-20s teammate Josh Hoffman holding down the fullback spot, Beale decided to make the move to Wollongong last year with the goal of becoming the Dragons's long-term fullback.
A season-ending knee injury and the mid-season arrival of Josh Dugan put paid to the plan but Beale has found a comfortable niche at left centre, having not missed a match for the Dragons this season.
Dugan's successful switch to right centre opened the door for Beale's return to the back against Canberra two weeks ago and the Kiwis international said he had no hesitation when asked to make the switch by coach Paul McGregor.
"I've been happy with the move back there. I guess first of all [at training] I was just slotting in there to get a feel for it but [the opportunity] popped up before the Canberra game and I put my hand up straight away," Beale said. "Mary asked me and I said 'yeah'. I've played there before and I think it's been a good fit. It's what's best for the team.
"It allows Pete [Mata'utia] to show what he can do in that left-centre position and he's doing a really good job. I think so far we've got a good combination there and we're going to look to keep improving."
With just two games remaining ahead of a potential finals appearance, Beale said he hoped to stay in the position for the remainder of the season.
"If the team keeps playing well and I improve there I most likely might stay there but footy's a funny thing, there's always twists and turns throughout a season," Beale said.
"It's a pretty big role out there, especially defensively. There's a lot of things you don't see on the camera but a lot of stuff off the ball, but I've been happy to take on that challenge and that responsibility."
The Dragons and the Broncos will both put their respective finals chances on the line in Friday's do-or-die clash and after being robbed of a return match by injury last year, Beale can't wait to run on to the Suncorp Stadium turf for the first time since leaving Brisbane.
"I'm really excited. Last year I missed out being injured and didn't get to play up in Brisbane, so I'm obviously looking forward to that. I know the team is as well," Beale said.
"We've had two good wins now, so we're looking to make it a third but it's going to be a tough game up there in Brissy.
"They're in the same position as us, needing to win, so it's going to be a really good game."