New Canberra Raiders assistant coach Andrew McFadden said a steep learning curve while leading the New Zealand Warriors will allow him to be the perfect partner to Ricky Stuart in season 2019.
McFadden returns to the club he played 76 games after spending six years as a head coach and assistant for the Warriors as a replacement for Mick Crawley.
It's the fourth coaching job McFadden has had at the Raiders after having coached the Jersey Flegg side in 2005 and the under 20s in 2009 before being an assistant (at NRL level) for three years starting in 2009.
"I love coaching, I'd coach anywhere but this is home for me and this is the club I want to be at," McFadden said.
"I grew up here, I played for the club, I coached for the club and now I get a chance to do it again.
"I had a great time over in New Zealand with the Warriors, but this is home and I can't wait to get out there and help Ricky [Stuart]."
McFadden admits having an NRL head coaching role handed to him in his mid-30s resulted in a steep learning curve.
However, he said that experience will serve him well in Canberra.
"When I was given the head coaching role it was sort of thrown at me and you often don't say no to that," McFadden said.
"I was very young when I got that role, whether I was experienced enough, [I] probably wasn't in the end.
"Certainty you learn a lot when you're in the job, there's lots of things I would have done differently but that's going to allow me to have those conversations with Ricky, challenge him on whatever it is but have a bit of substance behind it.
"But most importantly when we walk out of the room that we're on the same page and I'm really looking forward to that."
McFadden said he kept one eye on his former club throughout 2018 and said he liked the signs he saw in the back end of the season.
"I saw a lot of positive things at the end of the year and I think they're not too far off," he said.
"It's what you realise about this game, you're never too far in front and you're never too far behind so as a coaching group we'll make those adjustments and have a good plan of attack into the new season."
Canberra CEO Don Furner said the assistant role came down to four candidates, with McFadden's name high on the list ever since he indicated he wanted to move back to Australia earlier this year.
- Allianz Stadium's epic finale to continue crowds conundrum
- The Dally Ms - a proud history of excellence with a dash of controversy
"We never wanted to lose him when he left but he gained great experience while he's been away from the club," Furner said.
"One of the things he said to Rick in his interview is 'once you've been a head coach you know exactly what a head coach needs behind him'.
"We knew Mick was leaving four or five months ago and we had Andy on the radar, but we were conscious of the fact they [New Zealand] were still in the finals so we let that play out."
Secure a match ticket
A limited amount of tickets are still left to enjoy the 2018 Telstra Premiership NRL Grand Final. Don’t miss your chance to secure your seat via Ticketek HERE
Travelling for the grand final?
You can secure your tickets and travel all in the one place with ‘build your own’ packages still available HERE