For the first time in a long time, Pat Mata'utia feels like he's "back in love with the game".
The 25-year-old, with 14 NRL matches and a Test for Samoa next to his name, joined Newcastle Rugby League club Western Suburbs this season fresh from finishing up at the Knights.
Mata'utia reckons he has a new lease on life having stepped away from the professional environment.
"It's been great and I'm enjoying every minute of it," he told the Newcastle Herald.
"I feel like I'm back in love with the game again.
"Playing professionally you are always trying to impress someone and trying to get that first grade spot.
"At the end of my [NRL] career I wasn't really feeling it and I probably wasn't trying as hard as I could have.
"Now I'm just happy and I'm in a good head space."
Mata'utia hasn't ruled out another crack at NRL level one day, but said he wouldn't rush back just yet.
"I definitely haven't ruled out NRL [again] if the opportunity came," he said.
"But if I had to answer right now I would say no.
"I didn't think I would be working [building safety] now instead of playing footy, but family comes first and I'm in a really good frame of mind at the moment.
"Who knows what will happen down the track."
Mata'utia and Lantry will also go away together to Brisbane this weekend as part of the NSW Pioneers representative program.
Lantry as mentor and Mata'utia starting in the second-row against the Queensland Rangers, following on from the Newcastle Rebels beating Sydney's Ron Massey Cup side at Maitland earlier this month.
"I'm excited about it and definitely looking forward to it," Mata'utia said.
"I've been trying to watch a bit of them [opposition players] on BarTV, but from what some of the [Pioneers] boys said they got smashed last year so we're in for a tough one."
Mata'utia is the third of four famed rugby league playing brothers and at one stage they were all together at the Knights.
Chanel, 26, left for Cessnock last year but hasn't appeared in 2019 while Peter, 28, is now overseas with the Castleford Tigers in the English Super League.
Younger family member Sione, who turned 23 on Tuesday, is the sole survivor at Newcastle headquarters but remains a source of advice.
"It's good to see he [Sione] is still going strong in there [at the Knights]," Mata'utia said.
"But if he ever watches one of my games I ask him what I can be doing better."