Adam Doueihi left the Wests Tigers in 2016 and wasn’t sure if he’d ever return.
In different circumstances, one month earlier, Robbie Farah had done the same.
The teenaged Doueihi and the 32-year-old Farah were poles apart in terms of their careers but one common denominator between them is Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire.
After luring Doueihi to the Rabbitohs three years ago, Maguire has now played a pivotal role in bringing the 21-year-old back to Sydney’s inner west during the past fortnight.
“The chance to work under Madge again was a huge factor,” Doueihi told NRL.com on Monday.
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“He saw me play at the Tigers a few years ago and he’s big on hard work and discipline. I was doing part-time in the 20s and he knew that’s what I was about.
“When I first moved to Souths it was a smooth transition and I was young so it’s been a crazy time for myself and family this time around. I’ve never had to look at any other clubs before.”
Doueihi holds no ill-feeling towards Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett or the club that ultimately gave him his first-grade debut in 2018.
Having played 30 games during the past two seasons, Doueihi admits he “thought I’d be at Souths forever” but then news of Latrell Mitchell’s pending arrival filtered through.
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“I was feeling at home and it had never crossed my mind to leave the club but Wayne Bennett was honest with me about Latrell coming to the club and said he’d get the first crack at fullback,” Doueihi said.
“I guess it was [the reason] in the end. Players change clubs and it dictates things. I thought if I was going to move I wanted to do it as soon as possible to learn new plays.
“The Tigers have always been in the back of my mind. I’m a junior of the club and signing a four-year deal gives me a bit of security. It was meant to be.”
As for Farah, who has had an impact on the early stages of Doueihi’s career, the 21-year-old said it was a nice moment to be able to replace one Lebanese international with another.
“He’ll always be the Lebanese king of Leichhardt,” Doueihi said.
“He’s telling everyone he got the deal done with me but he was good and always on the phone during the negotiations.
“He was giving me the positives to come here. I think he’ll be around the club at some point this year so hopefully we can float some ideas and work together.”