The Moree Boars have finally got their man.
After chasing Canterbury Bulldogs premiership-winning player Matthew Ryan for what he says was about a decade, the former NSW Tri-series representative will coach the side next season.
Moree have applied to return to Group 4 in 2020. It is a move that Ryan - who debuted in first grade at the club in the mid-1980s when they were in Group 4 - has applauded.
Ryan - who played 95 games for Canterbury and nine games for North Queensland over nine seasons - said he was free to coach again after sorting out "a few" personal issues.
He has not coached since 2004, when he won back-to-back premierships captain-coaching the Kendall Blues in the Hastings League. He coached Moree in 2000-01.
The former NSW Country player said "it's about time" he returned to mentoring. He suggested that his "familiarity" with Group 4 played a role in him deciding to take on the role.
"I never played in Group 19 - I never had anything to do with Group 19. So, for me, I suppose, it's more about going back to what I know ... I'm more comfortable in Group 4, I guess," he said, adding that he believed Group 4 was a better fit for the Boars than Group 19.
Group 4 will hold its annual general meeting on Sunday, at which time it will receive Moree's submission to rejoin Group 4 and the clubs will table their recommendation on the submission to Group 4's board. It is expected that the board will make a decision on the recommendation at a later date.
Ryan said: "It's a new phase of the club to go back into Group 4, and we want to go back in with the right attitude, the right temperament, and represent Moree in the way it should be represented."
The 50-year-old - a fullback and outside back whose top-flight career spanned the NSWRL, the ARL, Super League and finally the NRL - said "you just don't know" when asked how Moree would fair in Group 4.
But he added: "Again, with the talent we've got in the town and around the district ... I think we can be very successful. And again, we're not going back into Group 4 to just make up the numbers."
Moree would, he continued, "go in with the attitude that we want to make an impact". "A lot of these guys have been at the club, on and off, for a number of years now and they're in their mid to late 20s.
"So they're at the peak of their, I suppose, playing ability - physical wise. I think some have still got a lot to learn, but hopefully I can help some of them on the technical side of it ... If we can get that all to fall into place, I think we'll have a very successful year."