Michael Gordon says there was a tinge of regret when he didn't join the Gold Coast in their inaugural NRL campaign, but says he can play an important role having finally returned home more than 10 years later.
Gordon was released from the final year of his contract by the Sydney Roosters on Tuesday to join the Titans on a two-year deal, solving the fullback dilemma created by the departure of Jarryd Hayne.
The one-time NSW representative grew up in northern NSW and played his junior football with the Tweed Coast Raiders.
He had hoped to return to the region with his family following his time at the Roosters, but admitted even his premature return was much later than it could have been.
"I had a chance to maybe come back in the inaugural year (in 2007) and didn't," Gordon said.
"It's something I sort of looked back and thought maybe if I'd done things differently."
Gordon chose to remain loyal to Penrith for the 2007 season and has gone on to carve out 225 NRL games for four different NSW-based clubs.
But he has always looked to return to the Titans.
"Pretty much from about 2010 I've tried to come back every year and its either fallen down from my end or the club's end," he said.
"It's taken me 10 years but I'm finally here."
New coach Garth Brennan was without an established fullback after the departure of Hayne, however, Gordon will fill that void and is also likely to assume the goal-kicking duties.
Hayne last month asked for a release from the Titans in order to move back to Sydney for personal reasons and signed with former club Parramatta.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis and Brendan Elliot were shaping as the Titans' options for the No.1 jersey but 34-year-old Gordon will slot straight in.
Gordon's spot in the Roosters line up was uncertain after the signing of incumbent Blues fullback James Tedesco, with the experienced back tipped to move to the wing.
"It was never about where I'm playing; I'm always a team first sort of person," Gordon said.
"The chance to come home, bring the kids home and be around family and friends was too hard to ignore."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson wished Gordon well, adding weight to the anticipation that he would boost the Titans' culture as well as on-field performance.
"Popular among his teammates and a valued contributor both on and off the field, Mick has definitely left his footprint on the club and we wish him, his wife Tess and their children Cruz and Kahlani all the very best," Robinson said.