Newcastle recruit Andrew McCullough says he "would have been dirty" on himself if he had prioritised a comfortable Broncos pay cheque over the chance to get regular game time in new colours.
McCullough made the abrupt decision to leave Brisbane, where he had been from the age of 13, within four days last week to join Newcastle for the rest of 2020.
His arrival in the Hunter last weekend, and first training run in red and blue on Monday, has him in line for the No.9 jersey again when his new side faces Penrith on Sunday in round three.
The 30-year-old former Maroons representative is believed to have taken a pay cut in moving, though an option in his Broncos contract still remains.
Much like Jordan Kahu's move to the Cowboys last year, McCullough is able to return to Red Hill in 2021 if he doesn't land a new deal with Newcastle or an NRL rival.
But with youngsters Jake Turpin and Cory Paix firming as Brisbane's leading dummy-half duo, McCullough chose to up stumps and chase a regular NRL role rather than play out his Broncos deal from the fringes of first grade.
"Any change is outside of your comfort box and I probably needed to do that and I've done that," he said.
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"I could have sat there at Brissy and been content, but the challenge here to come down and play good footy under a new coach and in a new team is exciting.
“I think you have to look at a few things – the coach, the roster, the area – and [Newcastle] ticked all those boxes.
"I’m really glad that I jumped at the opportunity to come down and work with these guys.
"You get a gut feeling straight away. As soon as I was asked you know straight away, and it felt right.
"The team environment and the players here, everything ticked a lot of boxes, and I would be dirty on myself if I didn’t take the opportunity."
McCullough said any decision on his future beyond 2020 is "out of sight, out of mind".
"I've got this opportunity presented to me ... I'll worry about it later in the year, whatever happens," McCullough said.
McCullough's arrival at Newcastle adds to the hooking stocks that were left worryingly thin by Jayden Brailey's ACL rupture in round two.
While uncapped local junior Chris Randell remains an option after converting a train and trial contract into a development deal, McCullough's 260 games of NRL experience is hard to go past.
McCullough spent his first day at Knights HQ finding a locker and learning names as much as plays.
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Despite having spent more than half his life in the Broncos' system, McCullough said he had no issue with his surprise exit from the club, or the lack of a Suncorp Stadium send-off.
"I have never been a person that I’d need a big send-off or pats on the back," McCullough.
"The close people will understand what you’ve done for the club, but I don’t need to be put on someone’s shoulders and carried off the field to get recognised.
"I’m happy with what I contributed to that club and what I can do. I helped a lot of young boys along the way, and deep down I think I’ve done a great job and hopefully I can play my part for Newcastle."