Moylan's coaching masterclass
Going through four coaches in two years usually earns a player 'coach-killer' status, but the only crime Penrith pin-up Matt Moylan is guilty of is 'killing it' in his first two years in the NRL.
When the All Stars fullback runs out for super coach Wayne Bennett in Robina next Saturday night, it'll be his fourth coach in just over two years as a first-grader. But it definitely won't be because he's a self-indulgent sporting celebrity on a fat wage who refuses to take orders from his superiors.
Since making his debut midway through the 2013 season, Moylan has soaked up a combined eight decades worth of knowledge from club mentor Ivan Cleary, City Origin clipboard holder Brad Fittler, and Australian Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens.
And you can add another 45 years and seven premierships worth of know-how when he returns to the foot of the mountains next Sunday night, having completed an entire week picking the brain of arguably the greatest coach in the history of the game.
"I've never spoken to [Bennett] before, so I'm really looking forward to getting into camp and speaking to him," Moylan told NRL.com this week.
"I've had a few coaches now. So I'll just try and learn a bit more again off Wayne and bring it back to Penrith and put it into my performances out here."
It's not just the coaches, either. While he might not have been used during Australia's Four Nations campaign last year, he still kept a close eye on the actions of the game's representative stars.
By season kick-off next March the NSW Origin candidate will have been a teammate of the likes of Cooper Cronk, Adam Reynolds, James Graham and Greg Inglis.
It's the kind of exposure his club coach hopes will further educate his young pupil on the intricacies of joining the NRL elite, particularly after his breakout season in 2014.
"Just being in that [Kangaroos] camp, I picked up a few things just on professionalism and preparation – mainly from watching the senior boys that have been there a fair bit," he said.
"The stuff that they do to get ready for a game – the diet, the lead-up – I'll be trying to bring that back and use that myself.
"Obviously I was disappointed not to play a game, but there are still other games down the track so hopefully one day I'll get a run in the future."
There will be challenges. He was a significant part of Penrith's giant-killing gauntlet that fell one game short of a fairytale grand final appearance last year. And this season, it is almost a guarantee that the trolls will be out to ensure a dose of second-year syndrome.
"I haven't thought about it too much, but I might be [a target]," he said. "But every game is physical week in, week out. You just get used to copping a few shots here and there. It's just a standard part of the game now."
The rewards, however, could be enormous. Even if he says he hasn't given it a second thought, Jarryd Hayne's American dream means rugby league's pinnacle is within reach, with St George-Illawarra's Josh Dugan and Manly's Brett Stewart the other contenders for the vacant NSW no. 1.
"I don't want to think too far ahead. I just want to get back and start the season off well, where we ended last year. We were playing well as a club. I just want to start the year well and improve as the year keeps going," he said.