THE Newcastle Knights have been waiting seven years to reach the NRL's finals frontier. Now Blake Green has eight games to help them get there.
Green trained with the Knights for the first time on Wednesday after his release from the Warriors and will debut for his new club on Saturday against Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In a career spanning 14 seasons at six previous NRL clubs and two Super League outfits, the 33-year-old has proven himself as a big-game specialist.
And he admitted the prospect of contesting the play-offs was a factor in signing a short-term deal with Newcastle, who are seventh on the ladder after 12 games and intent on featuring in the post-season for the first time since 2013.
"That's played a part in it ... the lure of coming up and playing finals footy for this team was an exciting one," Green said.
The wily half or five-eighth has appeared in play-off series with Cronulla, Melbourne, Manly and the Warriors, and won both the Super League grand final and Challenge Cup during his stints with Wigan and Hull Kingston Rovers.
He was excited to be joining "this famous footy club" and renewing his association with Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien, with whom he worked during their time together at the Storm.
"I'm well aware of how much of a rugby league town I'm in," he said.
"This morning I just bumped into a few people on the way here who made me feel so welcome, yelling out good luck and all the best.
"So I'm just excited to represent this town and put on this famous jersey."
He was unsure where he would be playing in 2021.
It would appear unlikely that the Knights will be in a position to retain him, given that rookies Tex Hoy and Phoenix Crossland are regarded as long-term first-graders.
"I haven't even gone down that road, to be honest," Green said.
"I got a phone call at 10.36 on Monday night saying it was happening.
"Literally it's been a whirlwind for me.
"It was quite emotional yesterday morning, with the playing group at the Warriors ... I'm just trying to make sure I enjoy the moment now and give everything I've got to the next eight weeks and see where it takes me."
He described the move to Newcastle as "win-win for both parties".
He gets a chance to advertise his wares, having been told by the Warriors he would not be retained beyond the end of the season, while the Knights will benefit from switching regular five-eighth Kurt Mann to hooker after losing three dummy-halves to injury.
"Every footy club I've gone to, they've bought me for a reason," Green said.
"Adam has obviously highlighted the reason for me coming to the club, and I just need to play my role and do my part. I'm here to help out.
"Hopefully we can put some good performances together over the next eight weeks and see where that takes us."
He was looking forward to partnering Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce in the halves and stressed that he was more than happy to "be a calming influence" and play second fiddle.
"It's Pearcey's footy team," he said.
"I'm here to help.
"I'm here to give him a hand and hopefully take some pressure off him and just provide some talk and let him know that I'm here to support him.
"He doesn't have to do it all himself."
In addition to the well wishes of fans, Green said a number of Newcastle's past and present players had contacted him on Tuesday to welcome him aboard.
He said the Knights had some "terrific young talent" in their ranks and part of his role would be to pass on his experience.
"They've obviously got some pretty high standards that Adam has set since coming here.
"The group are in a really good state of mind at the moment, they're really positive, really upbeat.
"They're a hard-working team, from the outside, what I've seen ... it won't be through lack of trying to get the best out of themselves over this next period."
Coincidentally, his first opponents in a Newcastle jersey are the Tigers, who the Warriors beat 26-20 at the SCG last week.
He had little doubt the Tigers would come out firing after coach Michael Maguire's furious reaction to that defeat.