Chris Hunt has again closed a door and opened a new one, as one of country rugby league's longest-running first-grade careers is poised for another lift-off.
And waiting for the evergreen veteran at Kootingal-Moonbi was his longtime companion, league tag player Sarah Creighton - the mother of three of his four children, his business partner and his rock.
Creighton had kept him "level-headed and steady" throughout their 17-year relationship, Hunt said.
She has also kept him motivated so that he keeps entertaining footy fans - especially her.
"Usually with a lot of other footballers it's, 'Mate, you've gotta give footy away,'" he said of players' partners.
"But I've been trying to give it away, and she [Creighton] keeps nagging at me to keep playing because she loves turning up and watching me play."
After two seasons at North Tamworth and two premierships, Hunt - who turns 40 in June and remains an imposing physical specimen - has decided to reinvigorate himself in a new environment.
A major influencer in his decision to join the Roosters for the first time was Kooty prop Chris Vidler, whom he trains via his business, Az Fit Az Training, which he runs with Creighton - a league tag player at the club.
Hunt is the latest former Wests Lions player to join Kooty since ex-Lion Geoff Sharpe began coaching the side in 2018.
Hunt's Roosters teammates include a number of his former Lions teammates, such as Vidler, Kyle Cochrane, Cameron McDonald and Sam Taylor.
He also played first grade with Sharpe at Wests, after initially becoming a top-grade regular in 1999 when he was playing for Narromine in Group 11.
Signing with the Roosters was "something different" and "a new challenge", he said.
"Playing with new teammates sometimes brings the best out of you and freshens you up," he said, adding: "It's always good to have a challenge."
Hunt started on the wing when North Tamworth won their sixth-straight premiership by beating Kootingal-Moonbi 40-4 in the 2019 grand final - the last Group 4 match played after the 2020 season was abandoned because of COVID.
He believes 2021 can be the year of the Roosters, as they chase their debut first-grade title.
"We've got a good mixture of youth and experience, and some of them younger fellas have got a taste of semi-final football as well," he said.
"So I can't see why we can't be a real threat this year. As long as we stay focused and put in the hard work."
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