UNHERALDED Kangaroo Jasper Pittard has quietly and efficiently become one of the AFL's bargain recruits since his old side Port Adelaide put him on the trade table last year.
A brutally honest exit meeting with Power coach Ken Hinkley gave Pittard, who was contracted until 2020, the option of finding a new home if he wished.
Long story short, the 28-year-old hitched a ride from Alberton to Arden St with high-priced wingman Jared Polec, or so the story goes.
Pittard was supposedly the 'throw-in', whereas Polec was fresh from a career-best season and had multiple clubs chasing his services.
What North Melbourne paid for Polec – a first-round pick (which ended up being No.12, and was used on Zak Butters), with a swap of later selections – was pretty much commensurate for his market value.
That Pittard came in the same deal was a good result, especially in hindsight.
"Jared's a very good player, he's had a fantastic year for us and I've loved watching him do his thing," Pittard told AFL.com.au after the Roos crushed Port Adelaide by 86 points on Saturday night.
"I'm the kind of guy who's happy to slip under the radar. It doesn't bother me whatsoever.
"I was just happy to get an opportunity, and I felt like I was really valued from the day I walked in."
Pittard was shortlisted for the 2016 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian squad, then had hamstring setbacks in the following two pre-seasons that put him on the back foot.
He never reached that standard again at the Power and slipped down the defensive pecking order last season, making only 11 senior appearances as he fell behind similar (and younger) types.
Then came Hinkley's offer, which Pittard conceded was "disappointing at the time".
"I think everyone wants to be a one-club player, but it's just the reality of the industry – it doesn't always work out that way and it is what it is," Pittard said.
"But the change, in hindsight, has been unreal for me. I'm probably playing as good a footy as I have in my career and my body is really good and it probably would've taken that to get me back playing well.
"To come into a side and get played early and get my confidence back has really helped me, so I'm pretty happy and I'm super excited for the future of our club."
Pittard won a season-high 29 disposals against Port Adelaide in an outstanding performance, to go with 10 intercept possessions, seven score involvements and 430 metres gained.
It was more of the same from a player who's likely to finish towards the pointy end of North Melbourne's Syd Barker Medal count, even if he deflects credit to Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson.
Pittard effectively warned everyone he was ready to bounce back at his introductory media conference in late November, when he declared he was in his best physical condition for years.
"There were stages in '17 and '18, where I just couldn't play with the same explosiveness, but there were also times I felt pretty good," he said.
"The times I felt like the body was good, I just couldn't get the form – I couldn't get them to align at the same time.
"I had the same mindset (as before 2016) but sometimes it just doesn't pan out like that. The older you get; I think the more confident you are in what you can do."
In that same media appearance, Pittard revealed how keen he was to work with then-assistant coach and former defender Rhyce Shaw, not knowing he would be in charge only months later.
Shaw helped reinvigorate the Roos' season and even though they will still miss out on the finals, there is genuine belief greater things lay ahead.
Pittard is even looking forward to starting the pre-season, something he never expected to say.
"The excitement in the group now, with the new coach and the way we're performing and nights like this, I think you're going to see boys really knuckling down in the off-season," he said.
"We want to make sure we come back in good nick and can really attack the pre-season, because we've got such a good opportunity next year."