GREATER Western Sydney kept Cam McCarthy against his wishes, so how does it plan to make the relationship work in the long term?
It's a question many have pondered since the Giants played hard ball and denied the young forward his request to be traded back to his home state of Western Australia.
McCarthy, 20, had two years remaining on his contract when he asked for the move to Fremantle.
Now one month back into pre-season training, the fence-mending is in full swing and Giants coach Leon Cameron is confident they have the blueprint to make things work in the long run.
"We knew it was going to be interesting because it was a big situation," Cameron told AFL.com.au.
"He got progressively more homesick … but we deal with this all the time.
"Cam was in his second year, and Toby Greene and Dylan Shiel and Devon Smith and Jeremy Cameron were all homesick in their second year.
"It was excitement to start – 'I'm playing AFL' – then they got homesick.
"They all went through it, but they got over a hump."
Cameron, a father of three, said he had full empathy for McCarthy's situation, which was born simply out of missing his parents, siblings and mates.
But just as the quartet he mentioned had settled down with properties, partners and a greater sense of belonging at the club, Cameron was confident McCarthy would follow suit.
The Giants have adjusted their welfare program since the pre-season resumed to help cater for McCarthy.
They let him return home for a few days early on, and also allowed him to leave the training camp in Noosa a few days early to train in Sydney and then head home for the Christmas break.
It's all part of making him feel comfortable, and getting the best out of him as a footballer.
Cameron is confident that as time passes, things will get easier.
He – and the club – wants McCarthy, fresh off a 35-goal season, as a perfect forward line foil for Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton.
"When he came back to the footy club, the players embraced him, they knew what he was going through," Cameron said.
"It was tough for Cam. He's had his good weeks, he's had his bad weeks. He's very close with his mum and dad and sisters and his mates back home.
"I've also seen the other side of him as well; that excitement, the camaraderie and the experience I've seen with the other kids that have been through it.
"He's got a fantastic family and we've got to find the right balance of giving him time at home, but also the professionalism of being an AFL footballer."