Dylan Walker is ready to put football and happiness ahead of money, admitting he's prepared to take a pay cut to remain at Manly beyond the 2019 NRL season.
Walker, 24, hopes to have his future secured in the next few weeks as negotiations between the former NSW Origin representative and his club continue.
He has stated repeatedly his desire to remain on Sydney's northern beaches, having settled there with his young family and thriving under coach Des Hasler this year.
But the Sea Eagles face a salary cap squeeze over the next few years and his ability to command the $600,000-a-year which he was able to during his last negotiations seems unlikely.
"I might have to take unders," Walker told AAP.
"That's just the way football is. I haven't had the best couple of months. I'm not saying it's not deserved. But I just want to play football.
"Money's not everything for me. Is my family happy? Am I happy? And where can I play my football? That's what my decision comes down to.
"You can't take too much of a pay cut. But when you're taking unders, you make it doable."
Also, importantly, Walker has found a home at five-eighth alongside Manly No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves this year.
Since being moved there in round 18, his side have won four from five and have shot into fourth spot with the finals just three weeks away.
"I love it here," Walker said.
"I've got a house here, it's a good lifestyle, the boys here are very close, we're good mates and we regularly catch up. It's a good vibe, it'd be ideal for me to stay here."
Also fuelling Walkers' desire to stay put is the close kinship he has forged with his teammates, describing it as the happiest environment he has ever been in.
"I feel like the closer you are, the more honest and up-front you can be," Walker said.
"Everyone knows what their role is and if they don't play their part in their role, we know why it happened.
"It makes combinations better, everything gels. Everyone is of a similar age, at a similar time in their lives. It's really good to have that camaraderie."
Australian Associated Press