Canterbury back-rower Adam Elliott has revealed he turned his back on big money offers from rival NRL clubs because he knew his beloved Bulldogs were headed for tough times in 2018.
When Elliott sat down with his manager in the middle of last year, he saw a storm was brewing at Belmore.
Within the club, it was well known they were about to feel a salary cap squeeze - which looks set to force out several senior players at the end of the year.
As well, then-coach Des Hasler was hanging by a thread - before he was ultimately replaced by Dean Pay.
With so much uncertainty and bigger and better contracts on the table from Parramatta and the Warriors, most other players would have taken the money and run.
But not Elliott, whose loyalty runs deep.
"I was really close to making the decision to leave," Elliott told AAP.
"I had really good contracts on the table from the Warriors and Parramatta.
"It just came to a point where Josh Jackson, he's one of my really good mates, he was the number one person that I was speaking to through my contract negotiations.
"One day I had everyone's final offers on the table. I think a few people would have taken the offers to leave.
"But after talking to Jacko and realising where we were, the love I have for this club, I thought not only was it the best thing for me to stay footy-wise but it was the best thing to do, to help build this club I've loved and supported my whole life. Help them get out of the rut we're in."
A Bulldogs fan since childhood Elliott was initially offered development deals by St George Illawarra and Canberra when he showed promise as a junior.
However when an offer came in from the Bulldogs when he was 14, he jumped at the opportunity.
So when he sat down in June last year to decide his future, he thought long and hard about his love for the club.
"It was the first year (in six seasons) we hadn't made the top eight, we knew there was a bit of a storm ahead of us when it came to salary cap issues, coach handovers and that sort of stuff," Elliott said.
"I just thought it wasn't the right time for me to leave. There's a lot more left for me to do at the Bulldogs.
"Growing up my number one dream was playing for the club.
"In my heart I know I made the right decision."
Australian Associated Press