RETURNING Dragons forward Trent Merrin admits he has unfinished business in the NRL, but he's not interested in proving doubters wrong.
If there's major shift in mindset in his second coming with his junior club it's that. That desire is what drove him to win a premiership and play for his state before his 22nd birthday.
It also played at least some part in his decision to depart the Dragons at the end of 2015 to take up a rich three-year deal with Penrith.
It was the start of a roller coaster ride he admits has given him cause to question some decisions, but he wouldn't change anything either.
"When you're at that age your surrounded by people who want to put their two cents in and it's hard to just look within yourself and make a decision based on your own feelings," he says of his initial departure.
"A lot came into it, I was still a young pup, I was still being coached by [former teammates] Dean Young and Benny Hornby and, at that time, I felt I needed to break away and grow for myself.
"I think I was always looked upon as a junior around those blokes and at that time I really needed to go away and spread my own wings and learn a bit about myself.
"It wasn't about [wanting to go] to a different club it was about a growth period for myself. Rugby league-wise, as an athlete, I've ticked every box I can. It's been more of a personal growth period.
"I think I've learned more about myself than anyone probably could in the last few years. It's been good, I don't regret anything."
He reached the finals in all three of his seasons with the Panthers, while he also added a notch to his now seven-Test tally.
Still, when he was deemed surplus to requirements at the foot of the mountains it was a reality check of sorts when only Super League giants Leeds came knocking.
It was a mammoth four-year deal but Merrin said he felt the lure of the NRL just a year into what was a trying campaign with the Rhinos.
It leaves him grateful for the chance to return to Wollongong, but he insists he's not returning with a chip on his shoulder.
"I don't think I have too much to prove to be honest, I've done everything in the game," Merrin said.
"It was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow when I did leave [Australia] but my love and passion was always with the NRL. I didn't think I was ready to go [to England] but obviously circumstances led me to make that decision to go over there.
"It's been a roller coaster last few years but I feel like I've finally found my feet back home. I'm not here to prove anyone wrong or anything like that, my main objective to is be happy, be home with my family and be really proud and passionate back in the red v.
"Back in the day it was about trying to make a name for myself and putting myself forward but now coming back here at a decent age it's about putting the team first and getting the club back to where it needs to be."
The 'decent' age is still only 30 and, while some of those knockers suggest his best football's behind him, Merrin is confident it's still to come.
"It's been a big growth period, I'm probably speaking like I'm 40 but the last few years have taught me a lot," he said.
"It's about being humble and appreciating what we have here. The Dragons have taken a big punt bringing me back home and doing the right thing by me so I'll be doing everything I possibly can to play my best footy."