The second the clock ticked over into November 1st, the pressure was well and truly on for the Dolphins.
The NRL's new kids on the block were expect to land a big fish early on and then keep those signings coming.
We now sit (at the time of writing) on the 24th of November and the Dolphins are yet to officially announce a signing, outside of a train and trial rookie.
If Brandon Smith shuns the Fins and lines up for the Roosters (or one of the other clubs chasing him) in 2023, the new boys would have missed out on all the reported marquee targets to date.
On the surface, this can't be twisted as a positive, but it's certainly not the end of the world.
There is pressure on Wayne Bennett to deliver a roster that can compete for the top eight and beyond in their very first season. This is still possible, as long as they make the right decisions.
I completely understand thoughts within the organisation that they need to announce a big signing soon. To a point, I agree.
That said, they cannot go out and throw stupid money and players just so they can get the monkey off the back, so to speak.
I cannot shake the feeling that it is coming.
The Dolphins can create a buzz and attract media attention by paying 'overs' for a player, but it won't achieve a positive result in the long term. That needs to be the goal.
There are so many NRL players currently off-contract for 2023 and beyond. Literally millions upon millions of dollars in talent.
The urge is to rush in as though you were playing Football Manager and to sign big-name players, but patience is golden for the Dolphins.
Reports indicate Ryan Matterson is not going to be offered a contract at the Eels.
Doesn't break the bank. Sign a player with a big name. 80-minute back-rower. Plenty of NRL experience. Ticks a lot of boxes.
He is the perfect coach to lead a new club. He's not going to allow excited staffers to throw around ridiculous numbers, but even the super coach himself may have a limit to his patience.
Jahrome Hughes, who has a player option in his favour, would be the ultimate signing to kick things off. That said, Hughes, via his manager, has said that the Storm remain in poll position.
That to me sends a "come and get me, but be ready to pay up" message.
The Fins could be forgiven for writing a record cheque to sign a premiership-winning half and smile throughout the entire process.
Then though, other plans have to change. That star centre they factored in may become a rookie. The five-eight they had put 800k aside for may become a 400k quality player.
These are decisions that need to be made but they don't need to be made right now.
The absolute worst thing the Dolphins can do is panic sign.
If they miss their target, then move on. I'm sure Bennett has a list of multiple options.
There will be movements throughout the NRL season. There always are.
Big-name players will become available. Freak youngsters will emerge. There will be reports of the "next superstar" carving up the junior leagues.
I can still put together two NRL sides from the list of players off-contract as it stands. That's without doing research into reserve grade contracted players and also without having this season's movements to consider.
Yes, it would be incredible to see that "Official: Player x signs for ..." from the Dolphins social media accounts, but it has to be the right player at the right price.