Benji Marshall says he was “angry” after being punted from the Tigers four years ago ahead of his second coming at Leichardt.
Marshall has signed for 2018 and will likely end his career in a Wests jersey after being snapped up by coach Ivan Cleary.
But the disappointment of being shown the door after 201 games for the club before a failed moved to Super Rugby still cuts deep.
“2013 for some reason was just ugly on and off the field ... it’s probably one that I’d rather forget to be fair,” Marshall told 20FOUR.
“When you’re not wanted, how do you stay? That was the hard part for me.
“I definitely felt mistreated at the time, I was angry there for a bit.
“Just the feel of not being wanted when you’ve been there for so long, and the feel of not feeling like a family after it felt like a family for so long is what hurt me the most.”
But re-signing with club has helped heal old wounds with the 32-year-old given the chance for the ultimate swansong with the club he helped claim the 2005 premiership as a skinny 20-year-old.
The former New Zealand captain said he was moved to tears after being given the green light to return to his childhood club.
“I cried, I’m not going to lie. I got very emotional when I thought about what it would be like to come back,” Marshall said.
“This is the first time I’ve been back since I signed and I still get goosebumps. I’ve got a lot of memories that go through my head.
“People sitting on rooftops of the houses watching ... the amount of attention you get walking through the gates from the fans, the same people who are in the same place every week. It’s crazy.”
But Marshall’s role with the team in 2018 will be much different to the one in which he made his name as one of the greatest ball-playing halves in the world.
He will be used off the bench with Luke Brooks and new signing Josh Reynolds handed key play-making responsibilities.
Marshall will assume a utility role similar to the one that reignited his career at Brisbane this year after being handed a lifeline by Wayne Bennett.
Not that he is worried.
“(Cleary) said yep, no worries, as long as you know that when you come here I’ve got Brooksy playing halfback and Josh Reynolds playing five-eighth ... it could be a similar role to the one you’re playing at Brisbane,” Marshall said.
“I said I don’t care, I know what I can do at training. I explained to him how I thought I could help the club and the effect I could have.
“All the things I said to him must have had hit home because he made a decision pretty quick smart that he wanted me to be a part of those plans going forward.
“We didn’t talk about money ... I said if you’re happy I’m happy, and we shook hands pretty much there and then.”