Liam Foran didn't think he'd ever get the chance to line up for Cessnock again, but the former NRL and English Super League player said he'd relish the opportunity this season.
The 32-year-old playmaker has been named on the Goannas' bench against Souths at Townson Oval this Saturday (3pm), having met his new teammates for the first time at training just 48 hours earlier.
"I never thought I'd be back here again, but I'm glad I've now got the chance," said Foran, who previously played with Cessnock in 2015 and 2016.
"I really enjoyed my time here and I've got a lot of respect for this club. I was jumping out of my skin at training the other night, I was like a kid in a candy shop."
Foran's arrival at the Newcastle Rugby League club comes after an unexpected turn of events over the last few months amid the coronavirus crisis.
The 2019 Group 21 player of the year had signed a three-season deal to captain-coach Greta-Branxton, joining from Aberdeen and helping the Colts re-enter the Upper Hunter first grade competition for 2020 before the campaign was canned last month.
The Colts' latest bid to enter the Newcastle and Hunter Community Rugby League A-grade competition was called off this week.
"This second wave of COVID-19 turned a lot of people off and made it a lot tougher," Foran said.
"We lost a few players as well and I didn't think we were going to be competitive, which would have defeated the purpose of playing in the first place.
"My intention is to go back next year and use this six months to try and recruit a few quality senior players."
Foran had 10 NRL appearances between Melbourne (2008) and Manly (2012). He played 15 games for UK club Salford in 2013.
Fellow Cessnock recruit Cameron King will be up against his former club this weekend.
Souths are awaiting a clearance for Tori Freeman, who has returned after a stint with French outfit Saint-Gaudens Bears in the Elite One Championship. Harry van Dartel has now registered for the Lions.
Elsewhere in round two an unchanged Central side meet the Pickers at Maitland on Saturday (1:45pm) and Tom Rouse moves into Wests' halves when they host Central Coast newcomers Wyong at Harker Oval on Sunday (3pm).
Lakes have the bye.
Newcastle RL released a new draw on Friday. Next weekend sees Souths away to Wyong, Lakes at home to Maitland and Cessnock hosting Wests. Central have the bye.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN OTHER NEWS
- NRL: Knights ban Sydney travellers for Bulldogs clash over COVID-19 fears
- A-League: Jets hoping wonder goal can be launchoad for Kosta Petratos
- NNSW WPL: Jen Hoy shows class in first appearance for Warners Bay
- Rugby Union: NHRU 'pulls the pin' on Rams Cup for premier clubs
- The nightmare behind a Newcastle gymnast's Olympic dream