Josh McGuire has revealed how reuniting with his former junior coach Paul Green was a massive factor in him joining the North Queensland Cowboys as he targets adding the one missing piece to his career puzzle.
The former Bronco has done it all at representative level for Queensland and Australia but an NRL premiership has proven elusive in his 194-game career.
The 28-year-old, who signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys, was coached by Green when he was in the Broncos Academy as a teenager and said he had great respect for a coach who has "been there and done it on the field and off the field".
"There are a lot of good coaches in the NRL but you don't get many coaches in the NRL with Greeny's credentials on the field as well, and that was a big thing for me," McGuire told NRL.com in a wide-ranging interview at Cowboys headquarters in Townsville.
"I grew up with Greeny and he has a great football mind. Skill-wise and structure-wise I don't think there is a better coach in the competition, and he is definitely a bloke who is forever adapting.
"Greeny has brought what he's achieved as a player, where he won a Rothmans Medal and represented Queensland, to his coaching where he's won a premiership and taken this club to new levels. He's practised what he's preached and that's why I am so excited about working with him."
When Green has spoken about McGuire this pre-season he has said that one underestimated aspect of the Test lock's play is his skill, and suggested the Cowboys intended to utilise more of it. McGuire has made a name for himself as a rugged defender and high work-rate forward who will get down and dirty in the middle, but he admits there is scope for more development in his game.
"In my talks with Greeny he spoke about my role, how he wanted me to play and how he could use me in a way that is best for the team, and it is definitely something I am excited about," McGuire said.
"I've made my career around working hard and being aggressive but I definitely think there is more to my footy than just that. I know what I am capable of. This is an opportunity to improve myself as a football player and as a bloke up here at a new club."
McGuire was on holidays in Fiji in mid-November when news broke that he would leave Brisbane and link with the Cowboys, but he said it was not as sudden a move as many had thought.
"It was done way before that. It wasn't meant to get out until I got back from Fiji because I'd wanted to go and talk to the team first, but it is what it is," he said.
"My mind was already made up about what I wanted to do once the season was over.
"When I decided I needed a change this club was pretty much the only one I was looking at. The roster was a massive indicator for me. I love the Broncs and always will have massive respect for the club but the move was for personal reasons. I needed a change... to reinvent myself and to press the refresh button."
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It was also the chance to press the fast forward button on a quest that McGuire is yet to realise.
"I've won Origin series and a World Cup. I've won most things but I need to win a comp. I haven't won a comp. I think we have the team to do it at the Cowboys, but it is a long road," he said.
"We have everything you need in a strong club... great management, great coach, world class halves, a big forward pack and big outside backs. We have really good depth up here and I am excited about working with all the young guys coming through."
McGuire will give Green a middle forward rotation that includes fellow internationals Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and Jordan McLean.
Taumalolo has been wearing the number 13 jersey that McGuire made his own at the Broncos so one of them will have to wear a different number on their backs this year, but just working in tandem with the Tongan international is an exciting prospect for McGuire.
"Talent-wise Jase is a freak and it will be a long time before we see another footballer like him, but the biggest thing that has stood out to me is how much of a good bloke he is," McGuire said.
"He's got a personality I don't think a lot of people get to see and I've been enjoying a lot of the stuff we've been doing together on the field. It has been an easy transition for us both and I really feel like we are going to help each other with our footy.
"So long as I can come and contribute it is going to help the team out and that is going to help Jase, Jordan McLean and Matt Scott."
I've won most things but I need to win a comp... I think we have the team to do it at the CowboysJosh McGuire
McGuire intends to stay at the Cowboys for the long haul and play into his mid-30s if his body lets him.
"I'm only 28 now and this is my 11th season of NRL after I debuted very young so I don't feel as though there is any reason why I can't go on past 32 if I am still fit and learning, and the way the staff is with recovery," he said.
"[High performance chief] Michael Dobbin has been fantastic for me personally and I'm at my playing weight already. I've always looked after myself.
"I don't know whether it is just that I am excited to be training with a new team but I feel good, I'm happy and I'm enjoying coming to training and learning combinations with new guys. I am a like a kid at a new school, building all those relationships again."