AFTER being knocked out of the finals race in the last round, Mitch Cullen found out most of his Kurri Kurri teammates were keen to play again next season.
He was also contacted by the Linnanes, the likes of Dan and Jason who were part of the Bulldogs' last premierships between 1993 and 1995.
This was enough to help get Cullen across the line to captain-coach at the club next year, when he notches up a decade of senior footy with the tri-colours.
"After we got knocked out the other weekend we had a bit of a drink together and everyone was still pretty keen to play with Kurri again," the 27-year-old father-of-two said.
"I went to work the next day and thought about it a bit more. Plus I had Dan Linnane and Jason Linnane both ring me, saying I was the right man for the job.
"In the end the opportunity was there and it was hard to say no."
Kurri officially announced that Cullen would replace outgoing mentor Ron Griffiths, who started at the Bulldogs in 2017, via social media during the weekend.
Underground miner Cullen said he has already sorted a few supporting roles, including workmate and former Kurri coach Todd Polglase.
Cullen said Bulldogs halfback Jade Porter was keen to focus more on playing but would also assist.
"It will be a different challenge," the Newcastle and NSW Pioneers representative said. "As a player you're just used to rocking up and everything's right to go."