Melbourne's defence coach Jason Ryles spent plenty of time in the Roosters' inner sanctum and Storm attack guru Adam O'Brien soon will, but both hold key roles in plotting Trent Robinson's demise on Sunday.
As Craig Bellamy's right-hand man in a string of highly rated assistants under his tutelage, the grand final will be O'Brien's last game in purple before joining the Roosters and Robinson's staff at Moore Park next season.
His 11-year tenure at the Storm has O'Brien seemingly destined to join the likes of Anthony Seibold, Brad Arthur, Michael Maguire, Stephen Kearney and Kevin Walters among others to have progressed from Bellamy's coaching stable to the highest level.
O'Brien's move to the Tricolours is viewed as his final apprenticeship before striking out as a head coach himself, while Ryles learned first-hand the influence an assistant can have when he and Robinson first crossed paths.
With Ryles's own two years playing in red, white and blue coinciding with their 2010 grand final run and Robinson's first stint as Brian Smith's defence coach, the former Test and Origin prop still checks in at Roosters HQ and talks tactics with current assistant Anthony Minichiello.
"I've still got a lot of good friends there in particular in the backroom as well," Ryles said.
"We speak regularly and I really enjoyed my time at the club and I still go back there when I'm in Sydney.
"With Mini I do [share ideas] a little bit because he was a pretty handy fullback when he played and I played front row so I'm trying to skill myself up, getting as much information out of him in regards tactically to fullback play."
O'Brien meanwhile will link once more with former Storm champion Cooper Cronk as current assistant Jason Taylor shifts into a development role with the Roosters' new feeder club North Sydney Bears.
As he has been for many at Melbourne for more than a decade, O'Brien was a key sounding board for Cronk's own protégée Brodie Croft in his resurgence to the No.7 jumper.
"Adam's been a major part of my development this year," Croft told NRL.com.
"I've gone to him a lot, asking him where I'm at and what I needed to do to get back into the team, and then stay there and hold my spot."
Bellamy's three-year extension with the Storm in June rightly dominated headlines given the approach he fielded from the Broncos.
But Ryles also tussled with a similarly weighty decision of his own a few months ago before recommitting with Melbourne, agonising over a potential shift to Newcastle as assistant to Nathan Brown.
Ironically O'Brien's own move to the Roosters played its part in the Storm's retention of his coaching colleague.
"I was really close, really close," Ryles said.
"Then I woke up one morning, I spoke to Craig and he didn't really say too much, as he does. But I just decided to stay here again for another three years. But it was really close.
"Obviously [there was] the relationship with Brownie from when I played and I was looking for a little bit more of a senior role.
"As it turned out Adam's moving on and then we've sort of all moved up one here. We'll see what happens here next year but I've decided to stay.
"It wasn't because the grass was greener on the other side, it was more just an opportunity to develop as a coach. Luckily for me I'm here."
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