WHEN young halves Jayden Nikorima and Ash Taylor skipped out on the Broncos at the end of last season, both articulated customary words and emotions.
Yes, they were sad to be leaving the club that had invested in them since they were schoolboys, but were simply seeking an opportunity to play at NRL level.
Money, they said, was not a factor.
And that often-used jargon was probably correct, even though both signed very handsome contracts despite being untested at the elite level.
It was much more than they were offered to stay at Red Hill, so the money was a comforting by-product.
But while the talented youngsters would have had stars in their eyes about making the big time, I suggest neither would realistically have envisaged it coming as early as round one this season.
The fickle finger of fate has dealt them both a good hand.
Nikorima has slipped seamlessly in to the Roosters outfit for the absent Mitchell Pearce, while Taylor has grabbed the
No.7 jersey at the Titans following a season-ending knee injury to Kane Elgey.
At the Broncos their progress was blocked by a trio of budding champions - Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima, Jayden's elder brother.
Only extenuating circumstances - like the ones that have resulted in them debuting for their new clubs this week - would have seen them snatch an NRL spot at Red Hill in the foreseeable future.
Given a realistic choice, neither would have wanted to leave the Broncos.
Local Queensland boys, they have been nurtured through the system, and - when not injured - combined together superbly in the Broncos NYC halves last season.
But that is the nature of supply and demand in the NRL.
While the Broncos may have lost two halves destined for greater things, they have since snared a couple of bruising teenage forwards, Herman Ese'ese and Tevita Pangai, to fill gaps in their roster.
And likewise, their respective clubs - the Bulldogs and Raiders - invested plenty to get them to a stage where greener pastures beckoned.
Fans are understandably disenchanted when young talent leaves their club before fulfilling potential promise, but at least they are still able to follow their progress, albeit in a jersey of another colour.
And that's more palatable than them going overseas, switching codes or dropping out altogether.
Go figure: Because he signed an agreement with Fox - for big bucks, presumably - Shaun Johnson recently declined an interview request from Channel 9 which has paid the biggest TV rights in the game's history.
Go figure 2: If Anthony Watmough is forced to end his career because of injury, he will be paid every single cent owing on the remaining three seasons of his contract - supposedly worth $2 million.
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