Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has made no apologies for the club's ruthless recruitment approach after the Jackson Hastings and David Klemmer player swap was finally confirmed.
Hastings will leave the Tigers to head to Newcastle on a three-year deal finalised on Wednesday, with the joint-venture receiving former State of Origin prop Klemmer in return.
The swap is a significant boost for both clubs, with the Tigers gaining a much-needed enforcer in their pack and the Knights attracting the dominant playmaker they have long yearned for.
But it is also not lost on the Tigers that 2022 has been a year of significant player turnover.
Hastings is the 14th member of their full-time NRL squad to leave the club since January, during a year in which coach Michael Maguire was sacked and the Tigers picked up their first wooden spoon.
Hastings was one of the Tigers' best players last season in his return to the NRL from the English Super League, with the club winning their first two games with him in the No.7 jersey and Luke Brooks at five-eighth.
But coach Tim Sheens faced a squeeze in the halves this season and a tough decision to make - with Hastings, Brooks and Adam Doueihi all off contract at the end of 2023.
"As a club we are obviously not satisfied that we finished last in 2022 and tough decisions need to be made," Pascoe said.
"Not everyone will be happy with some decisions we make, but we do not apologise for these decisions.
"Our members and fans need to understand that every decision that is made is in the best interests of this club and changing the fortunes on the field.
"On behalf of Wests Tigers, I would like to wish Jackson the very best with his future and thank him for his efforts over the past 12 months."
Meanwhile, Klemmer faced an acrimonious end to his time at Newcastle, with his contract due to expire in 2023.
The prop was linked with a mid-season move to Parramatta that did not go ahead, and underwent an HR investigation at the Knights over a spray delivered at a trainer.
His deal is for three years with the Tigers, with a mutual option for a fourth season in 2026.
The Tigers have also been linked with former Canberra forward John Bateman.
"I know Tim (Sheens) well through our time together with the Kangaroos and there's a lot to like about where the club is headed," Klemmer said.
"In many ways it's a new start for the club, and I'm delighted to be a part of it."
Hastings' three-year deal at the Knights comes after they let Mitchell Pearce go to Catalans at the end of 2021, and then shuffled through Adam Clune, Jake Clifford and Anthony Milford as halves in 2022.
Clifford and playmaking utility Tex Hoy have both since left for the Super League, while Milford will play for the Dolphins next season.