Brad McManus says he has to "keep the legacy" going after being reappointed as North Tamworth coach.
McManus has taken over as head coach from Scott Blanch, who replaced McManus after he steered the club to a fourth-straight title in 2017. Blanch then captain-coached the side to titles the past two seasons, with the Bears undefeated in 2019.
They have won a record six-straight premierships.
McManus said his return should be seamless. "I should be able to just step back in and take over from Scott," he said. "So looking forward to it.
"He's worked hard to get them where they are. I've got to keep the legacy going."
At the Country Rugby League awards in Sydney on Friday night, Norths were awarded the Clayton Cup for having the best record of any top-grade rugby league team in country NSW in 2019.
Blanch and McManus, who steered the Bears to titles in 2014-17, were among the club's contingent at the awards.
McManus stepped down as coach in 2017, admitting at the time that he wanted to de-stress and spend more time with his family. (He did, however, stay heavily involved with the side.)
He feels rejuvenated after the break. "Took a step back and had a bit of time away, a bit of time with the kids. And, yeah, it's been good - looking forward to going at it again next year."
Blanch will remain captain. Ominously for the Bears' long-suffering rivals, McManus expects his skipper and No 6 to be even more lethal now that he is unburdened of the coaching responsibilities. After Norths beat the Roosters 40-4 in last month's grand final, Blanch touched on the pressure he felt to keep the Bears' dynastic run alive.
McManus said: "Probably not much is gonna change from the last four years we've [he and Blanch] sort a been working together. You know, it's pretty much gonna be the same 'ol show.
"And it [not being coach] will probably give him that freedom, you know, where he doesn't have to worry about too much - all he's gotta do is play; like steer the boys around. You know, we might see the best of him next year."
Mind you, he still played pretty well this year, the Leader said.
"He did. But you'll probably see a better Scott Blanch next year, I think," McManus said.
Veteran Bears prop Shane Wadwell retired after a man-of-the-match performance in the grand final, and veteran halfback Kieran Fisher might follow suit.
McManus said Fisher had "not really indicated" what his plans were. "I'm just givin' him a bit of time, and I'll probably talk to him in the new year, and see how we go from there."
McManus said he was "going all right" getting players to commit to next season.