Josh McGuire says he has no ill will towards ex-club Brisbane and believes his off-season move to North Queensland will extend his NRL career.
The Kangaroos No.13 was contracted to the Broncos until 2020 but admitted he needed a change and jumped at a chance to take up a four-year Cowboys deal.
"It's been a breath of fresh air to come up here. It gives me a chance to prolong my career," 28-year-old McGuire said.
"I went to the club (Broncos for release). I needed a change. An opportunity arose that I couldn't refuse and I took it.
"I have no ill will toward the Broncos. They will always have a place in my heart.
"But I had been there since I was 15 years old, played 10 years of first grade there so I felt it was the right time to step away and pursue another opportunity."
McGuire's departure preceded an ugly coach swap saga between Wayne Bennett and South Sydney mentor Anthony Seibold.
McGuire, who played 194 games for Brisbane, believes the Broncos would bounce back in 2019 after Bennett was sacked via voice message and replaced by Seibold.
"I am just glad everything has been resolved down there, I have a lot of mates there," McGuire said.
"It is good to see that the club is back on track.
"It had nothing to do with me. I was out of there before everything went down.
"It's great to be part of a club that is so stable."
McGuire has played 10 Origins for Queensland and eight Tests but believed he would go to another level in a North Queensland pack also boasting Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and Jordan McLean.
"It's a good opportunity to get together with those guys (Cowboys pack) and improve our footy together, feeding and bouncing off each other," he said.
"It's a big year for me. I am excited about improving my footy and taking it to another level.
"A lot of the boys here are disappointed with the way the year went for them but that only adds to the hunger of the group."