Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran admits the constant speculation about his future affected his NRL form this season.
The 21-year-old, who will sit out the Sea Eagles' clash with Canberra on Sunday due to an ongoing hamstring injury, signed a new contract last week after rejecting a move to Canterbury.
The New Zealand playmaker had a clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent should former coach Des Hasler leave the club.
Hasler's acrimonious departure from Brookvale to take over at the Bulldogs shortly after winning last year's grand final led to constant rumours of Foran following him to Belmore.
And although he admits he was very close to joining his former mentor, Foran said making the decision to stay at Manly was a huge weight off his shoulders.
"It was a tough decision, but it was the right one. I said all along it was not about money and it never came into it," he said.
"I had the clause put into the contract because of the high regard that I hold Dessie in.
"But it was my great passion for the club and the boys that swung the decision. We have a pretty special bunch here."
Foran has so far failed to hit the heights he reached last season as have the premiers, who've managed to lose to struggling Parramatta and Gold Coast.
However, he believes the 12-10 victory over the Bulldogs last Friday is the chance for the side and him to get back on track.
"We've been a bit inconsistent this year, losing one and then winning one," he said.
"The contract thing does play on your mind a bit and it did before games. But I always tried to put my best foot forward and do my best for the team and hope to do the same when I get back in the side."
Foran revealed he'd been in close contact with Brett Stewart throughout his negotiations and is confident the star fullback will also agree to a new deal soon.
"Brett and I are pretty close and he's a big part of my game and he feels the same about me," he said."I am not sure he's agreed anything yet but this is a special group of players and everyone is very close and guys don't want to leave."