Benji Marshall says Ivan Cleary's first pre-season at Wests Tigers has helped recapture the vibe the club enjoyed during its most successful era.
Marshall, easily the most famous player to turn out for the merged club, has experienced the ups and downs of Concord as much as anyone.
The headline act of their 2005-premiership, he left the Tigers for Super Rugby in difficult circumstances in 2013 following dramas surrounding his contract extension.
Since then, the Tigers have undergone the turmoil of the departures of coaches Tim Sheens, Mick Potter and Jason Taylor, former captain and favourite son Robbie Farah and most recently, star players Aaron Woods, Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco.
But with Marshall leading a host of new faces this season, the the 32-year-old says the club is developing a similar feel to the one that led to their 2005 success.
"It's quite different (to when I left in 2013)," Marshall told AAP.
"I do feel like the vibe of what it's got to now, especially the vibe with Ivan having a full pre-season and investing a lot for our team that it's a family club and getting back to that.
"That's how it felt when I first started here. It feels like it's getting back to that."
Marshall will be a key figure in the Tigers' rebuild after making his own pitch to Cleary for a return from Brisbane last year.
Knocked back twice previously, the playmaker's homecoming will be accompanied by a spot in the Tigers' five-man co-captaincy group.
"The whole time I was gone I missed it," he said.
"The best way I can sum it up being back here feels normal and just feels right.
"It doesn't feel awkward at all. I'm not saying the other places felt awkward but it just wasn't home.""
Marshall's immediate and long-term playing future is less certain, as he says he's still uncertain which position he'll play in round one and whether 2018 will be his last year in the NRL.
Cleary has previously stated the 268-game veteran will have a significant on-field role but he will enter the season without a trial under his belt as he awaits the birth of his first son with wife Zoe.