Toby Faletau re-signing with the Dragons at the turn of the year seemed, well, unthinkable.
The 22-year-old number eight has admirers on either side of the channel, attracted amongst other qualities by his consistently high level of performance and low number of mistakes.
When Bath reportedly offered an £100,000 transfer fee to lure Faletau away from Newport last Christmas, the assumption was that the Dragons would be mad not to take the offer - at the risk of losing the Welsh international for nothing when his contract expired at the end of 2013-2014.
Instead, Faletau has agreed a two-year extension onto the end of his current deal, fresh from playing a starring role in the third Test for the British and Irish Lions in Australia.
There is a valid argument over whether staying with his home club is the right move for Faletau's career, even at the age of 22. Can he get the best out of his potential at a side who conceded 72 tries last season - more than Zebre's 60 - including one loss against Glasgow 3-60 at home?
The reasons for the Tongan-born number eight extending his contract seemingly come down to two factors; the appointment of Lyn Jones as Director of Rugby from London Welsh and reported arrival of Gareth Davies as the club's new chief executive.
Given that last season the future of the Dragons was on the line, with calls to reduce the number of Welsh regions from four to three, Faletau's re-signing certainly feels like a new dawn for the beleaguered side.
Without Heineken Cup competition and having only finished better than winless Zebre last season with six wins and 16 losses, even keeping Faletau, good as he is, does not appear to instantly mark a revolution in performance - at least not instantly.
For all the joy at Faletau deciding to stay for example, there is the frustration at another Lion in Dan Lydiate leaving to join Racing Métro.
Recruitment over the off-season has been sound, with the experienced Richie Rees, Kris Burton, Netani Talei and T. Rhys Thomas all making the move to Wales, but is it enough?
Davies' role will be integral in turning the Dragons into a force, although a sound commercial footing is believed to already exist with the Dragons handling the smallest debt of all the Welsh regions and breaking even last season thanks to the investment in the Bisley Stand.
A former Wales captain at fly-half, the task for Davies, along with Jones, is to convince talent such as Faletau and captain Andrew Coombs that staying in Newport can also result in success.
There is talent in the ranks - Will Harries, Tom Prydie, Daniel Evans, Ieuan Jones and Nic Cudd in particular - but as things stand is it nowhere near enough to have the Dragons battling in the playoffs.
Finding success though is essential. Compete and impress and the Dragons can become a force that retains it's best talents rather than watching them move on. A record over the last five years of finishing 11th, 9th, 7th, 7th and 9th, again, does not inspire.
Reach the heights of 2004-2005's 4th placed finish however, and Faletau's decision will seem like the right one.
by Ben Coles