Brayden Wiliame "didn't have a good start" in the NRL but the Dragons recruit is better prepared to make his mark the second time around.
After three seasons in the Super League, the 27-year-old has joined the club on a two-year deal and will put pressure on incumbent centres Euan Aitken and Tim Lafai.
"Because I'm a bit older now I feel like I'm in a position to push them," Wiliame said.
After playing under 20s with Melbourne, Wiliame made his Telstra Premiership debut for Parramatta in 2013 and moved to Newcastle the next year but couldn't get a go in the top grade. He then spent two seasons at Manly.
He lost his first 13 games and won just four of 29 matches in his initial NRL stint.
But a switch to French club Catalans Dragons in 2017 provided a change in fortunes and the speedy outside back blossomed.
A highlight was scoring a try when Catalans created history in 2018 as the first team outside of England to win the Challenge Cup.
"Going away early in my career worked in my favour. Just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the NRL, sort of just to go and work on my game," Wiliame said.
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"It was healthy. It was good, getting away from footy and not worrying about the head noise. There was no pressure really. Once I got that spot, my footy started doing the talking.
"Being over there you can be out of sight, out of mind, so as soon as an opportunity came I was always going to jump at it and my family knew that.
"I feel like I've grown a lot – I definitely have grown a lot – over the last three years and I feel like I'll be better for it once I get my chance."
Wiliame said he's been told he could force his way into the centres or "anywhere in the backline" if he trains and trials strongly.
The Central Coast product is comfortable on the wing, where he's played 16 NRL games. He has also made four Test appearances for Fiji as an edge forward.
Wiliame stands alongside hooker Issac Luke and centre/second-rower Tyrell Fuimaono as St George Illawarra's off-season gains.
Fuimaono, who arrived from Penrith in early January on a two-year contract, has struggled with injury recently, playing 11 games in the past two seasons.
The 23-year-old wants to regain the "stability" that has evaded him since his solid debut campaign with South Sydney in 2017.
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"Hopefully the worst is over and I can put a big pre-season in now, put my best foot forward and play a consistent season," he said.
The skilful forward has mostly been training in the back row and soaking up tips from two elite players in Tyson Frizell and Tariq Sims.
"A lot of people would have seen [having Frizell and Sims ahead in the pecking order] as a negative but to be honest I saw it as a positive," he said.
"[It's good] to have two older, more experienced guys to learn from and take as much as I can on board and better myself and see where that can take me."