Western Suburbs coach Matt Lantry has revealed the fear of getting the punt and being left without a coaching job next season was a factor in his shock decision earlier this month to walk out on the Rosellas after Sunday's grandfinal to link up with Maitland.
Despite being on the verge of over-seeing one of the club's most successful seasons in history with four grades contesting deciders at McDonald Jones Stadium, Lantry confirmed he was told by Wests officials several weeks ago that a decision on his coaching future at the club would not be made until the end of the season.
He's not the first Rosellas coach to be given the same edict. This time though, it back-fired on the club.
WIth Lantry's junior club Maitland sensing an opportunity after parting ways with this year's coach Luke Dorn, the Pickers dangled a lucrative two year deal in front of the former Knights NSW Cup coach. It was an offer he could not afford to ignore.
"Having to wait until after the grandfinal was certainly a factor in my decision [to leave]," Lantry said.
"If I waited and Wests opted to go in a different direction, I may have been without a head coach gig because I assumed every other job would have been filled. It wasn't a risk I wanted to take.
"Obviously, I didn't want to miss out altogether in the local competition. I really enjoy coaching so it definitely played a part."
The fact that he is a Pickers junior who lives at Bolwarra Heights and has always harboured an ambition to return "home" to coach also influenced the move.
"From my perspective, I've been at Wests for three years now and when the Maitland gig became available, I probably needed to weigh up where I sat and where I wanted to coach," he said.
"The opportunity to leave Wests probably in it's healthiest state in the last five years and now with the four men's grades all in grandfinals - the timing was probably right.
"If I didn't take the Maitland gig when it was available, I probably don't get it for another three years. I always felt a long term passion to coach Maitland. I think I applied back in 2005 or 2006 when I took on the Greta-Branxton job.
"I've always wanted to one day return 'home' to coach and it did secure my future for another two years and all going well, hopefully I'll be there longer than just those two years. It was a tough decision but in the end, I think it's the right one for me."
Lantry's Rosellas are at unbackable odds to beat Cessnock and send him out a premiership-winner on Sunday after just two defeats all season.
While you're with us, did you know Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here.
IN NEWS TODAY:
- Kobe Duck has returned to school after rare disease, acute flaccid myelitis, left him paralysed and unable to breathe, eat or swallow
- Claims union pressure left student strikers to raise $600 for stage
- Trinity Thompson found: The 15 year-old from Cooks Hill has been reunited with her family
- AP Eagers succeeds in Automotive Holding Group (AHG) takeover: What it means for Newcastle and the Hunter
- Klemmer cleared for end-of-season Tests