Tom Brown, one of the Magpies' favourite sons, knew two things: he wanted to give his body a rest, but he did not want to give the game away entirely.
So when the Magpies announced that they had a first-grade coaching vacancy, the 30-year-old father of three - the strong, silent type - decided to do someone he probably hasn't done too often: step outside his comfort zone.
As Werris Creek as the town's proud railway history, Brown will co-coach the side with Cody Tickle next year.
The no-nonsense prop - a ferocious competitor, a dream teammate - suffered a serious neck injury that kept him sidelined for most of the 2019 season. His physio told him to retire.
He played in the recent Wests Entertainment Group 9s, in a side captained by Tickle. He does not expect to play in 2021, but "won't rule anything out at this point".
"It's a big step outside my comfort zone to take that on," he said of coaching. "But I still wanted to be involved in the game ... I felt like I owed it to give back in some way."
If he did not get the coaching gig, Brown was prepared to run water or do anything, so long as he stayed tethered to the club. He and Tickle have replaced Ron Dellar and former NRL star Matt Parsons.
"It's definitely a big task trying to take over from people like Ron and Matt," Brown said, adding: 'It's a big honour, a big responsibility ... I put my name in. I wanted to give back a little bit [but] I never expected to get it."
Brown has known Tickle his entire life. He is mates with Tickle's elder brother, Jarrod, or Nugget.
The fitter and turner recalled when Tickle, whom he sounded out about the co-coaching role, was elevated to the Magpies' top side (they were in the now-defunct second division at the time.) He searched for the right word to describe the back-rower, settling on lionheart.
"He was just this scrawny little kid, and he never really backed down from anyone," Brown said. "The biggest front-rowers looking to do damage would run at him, thinking he was gonna be the weak link."
Brown said there was "a lot of pressure" associated with coaching a side with such a storied history. "I just hope I can do the job justice."