Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster has spoken about the transfer situation that dominated headlines during the NRL Finals, confirming that he had all-but decided to leave the Storm after agonising over the decision.
“It had obviously been a stressful time, I'm not going to lie,” Munster told News Corp.
“I was jumping back and forth with decisions about what was best for me. I'm not a guy who stresses out at all but I reckon this is the most stressful time I've had.
“I never wanted to leave and there was a stage I was going to do it. I had the idea that I was leaving.
“I'd come to terms with it, I was like ‘I'm over the negotiations.'”
Despite believing he would depart the club he'd called home for his entire NRL career, Munster ultimately signed a four-year extension in the Victorian capital.
“It's something I'm happy with and I won't regret the decision,” he said.
“I'm excited for the next five years. I'm very lucky that it's done and dusted now.
“Ask anyone I was playing with and close to me, they thought I was a done deal and gone. I thought I was as well.
“I wasn't staying (in Melbourne), I came to terms with that. I was legit waiting until November to have a look at my options.
“There was lots of speculation about Redcliffe, but I didn't have any formal offers.”
Munster also admitted the role that Craig Bellamy played in the decision, confirming he would have been less likely to re-sign had the master mentor not confirmed he'd be going around again in 2023.
“I kind of told Craig that if he wasn't staying on, I was going,” Munster said.
“He reassured me that he was probably going to have one more year and who knows, he might keep going. That was one of the turning points.”
It wasn't just the Melbourne club's standards of excellence that played a determining role, with Munster admitting the sight of Penrith's back-to-back premiership success was influential in the decision to remain in Melbourne.
“I thought I might as well go and challenge myself somewhere else – then I saw how Penrith won the final and went back to back, and how competitive they've been.
“I wanted to be competitive and play finals football, and I felt the best chance to win another premiership was in Melbourne.
“Regardless of who is going to be the coach, Melbourne is probably the place to get the best out of myself.”