It is an old saying, but home really is where the heart is.

I have had a few homes in recent years with stints with the Bulldogs, the Broncos and now the Knights. I value the time I spent at each of these clubs and have learnt and am still learning plenty.

However the biggest lesson I have learnt is to get ‘the balance’ right between what I am doing on and off the field.

I have never been more passionate about being a success in the NRL. But I also know that if I am happy off the field then I am a bigger chance of being successful on it.

That is why I am rapt with my new home at Newcastle. The club, the coaching staff, my teammates are all fantastic. I also know that when I come off the field I am surrounded by the people I love – my partner and my family.

Moving from Brisbane to Newcastle was relatively easy for me. I could see the career advantages.

However my partner’s job, family and friends were all in Brisbane.

My family had also moved to Brisbane and were really enjoying the lifestyle there.

For them all, especially my partner, to be so supportive and make the move with me meant so much.

Where ever they are … that is home. My partner and I are really happy here and that is a big reason why I believe I am also playing the best football of my career.

Herman Ese'ese exclusive insight nrl knight

I am loving Newcastle and I think I can do something really special here.

Career-wise, signing for the Knights was not only something I wanted, but something that I needed.

The contract and money to come to Newcastle were very attractive, but that wasn’t the reason I came here.

I came here to establish myself as a starting front rower – to get that game time week-in, week-out and to not have that constant worry of whether I was in the top side or not.

I have no doubt I have made the right move.

It was an interesting mix at the start, a lot of new players in the top squad, all trying to find their way at a new club.

And the Knights have been fantastic in how they treat the players and their families.

My brief time at the Knights has been a steep learning curve, but most of my career has been.

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In the four years since I started my professional career, I have come a long way.

There have been sacrifices and hard work, but I am happy where I am now, in the place where I want to be and I feel like this is where I am my happiest.

Of course, I am not forgetting where I came from and how much the Bulldogs and Broncos are responsible for where I am.

They helped me a lot to grow as a player and a person and guided me through some really great learning experiences.

At the Bulldogs, for example, under Des Hasler was a big challenge for me.

I was young, nervous making my first grade debut there.

But Des is such an incredible character and he and the players around me helped me through that debut. I learnt heaps there.

When the opportunity arrived to go to the Broncos, I knew it was something I could not so ‘no’ to. I knew I would be playing under one of the greatest coaches of all time.

I wanted to grow as a player and I knew that Wayne Bennett was the right person to get the most out of me on and off the field.

As soon as I arrived at Brisbane I knew it was the right move for that stage of my career.

The coaching staff and the senior playing group were exceptional.

I was surrounded by players of the calibre of Adam Blair, Corey Parker, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday.

They taught me so much about what is needed to be a regular NRL first grader.

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Wayne was more than a coach. He was a mentor who really took his time to help me … on and off the field – whatever I was struggling with.

I am really appreciative of the help he gave me. I am certainly a better player and person for his influence.

During my first year at the Broncos I played a fair bit of Queensland Cup as well as eight first grade games.

There I became even more focussed to be an NRL player EVERY week.

That was my dream, but I also knew that with hard work I could achieve my dream.

In 2017 I played 22 first grade games for the Broncos and then the opportunity to move to the Knights and be an every week NRL player arrived. Once again, I couldn’t say ‘no’.

And I am so grateful that my partner and my family share my dream. I really am at home.