James Mortimer 18.Feb.2013Getty Images
Thorn, who was born in the region, has come full circle after winning essentially ever trophy available in rugby union or league.
Winning NRL premierships, State of Origin series and a Rugby League World Cup then combined with a Super Rugby championship, an ITM Cup crown, Bledisloe Cups, Tri-Nations, a Rugby World Cup and of late – the Heineken Cup.
The latter was won with Leinster, who Thorn linked up with after playing in Japan, where he headed immediately after his World Cup success with the All Blacks.
Thorn said to Fairfax Media that to win a Super Rugby title, it was about taking one step at a time.
"For me having experienced being with the Crusaders, I know there's a lot of hard work in front of us," he said.
"It's a tough competition to win, and my outlook is very much one game at a time. There's a lot of things that have got to come together to have a successful season. At the moment it's very promising but we've got to keep our feet on the grass and just get on with it."
While the addition of Thorn, along with Tony Woodcock and Ma’a Nonu, gives the Highlanders roster an imposing look, the big lock said having superstars in your team counted for little.
"I was there (with the Crusaders) with two of the best players in the world in Richie and Dan and I only won one title in seven years,” he said.
“It's a team game, you've got to have luck with injuries, and it's a long hard season now with 16 rounds and three finals."