Matt Moylan thought he was going to be at Penrith forever.
He still has friends out west. He had dinner with Panthers outside back Dean Whare just last week.
But since swapping the foot of the mountains for the shire at the end of last season, Moylan is loving life again.
And he is looking forward to helping his new club Cronulla end his old club Penrith’s season in their elimination semi-final at Allianz Stadum on Friday night.
Moylan will go head to head with the man he replaced in the shire, Cronulla’s 2016 premiership-winning five-eighth James Maloney, in a personal battle that could decide whose season ends and which team can keep dreaming of a grand final.
The 27-year-old has been in excellent form over the last month, building on his slow start to the season which was badly disrupted by injury.
Moylan is now feeling more settled in the shire, evidenced by his improved performances on the field.
“I’ve really loved my time down here,” Moylan said.
“I’m loving it. It’s a good lifestyle, good club and good group of blokes and coaching staff.
“Obviously I grew up out there. So I’ll always be a westy. Just re-located I guess.
“I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity I had there. I had some good years.
“I think I was there for five or six years playing. Grateful for the opportunity I had but I’ve moved on and loving my time here.”
Cronulla have an excellent recent record against Penrith. The Sharks have won eight of their last nine clashes and the last five in a row including two victories over the Panthers already this season.
Moylan was only able to get the better of Cronulla once as a Panther in 2015. But that difficulty for Penrith to beat the Sharks has now become a blessing.
“The style of footy that Cronulla have always played. It’s been that tough sort of footy, they make you really earn it,” he said.
“I guess when I was out there we probably just weren’t playing consistently enough to get those results sometimes.”