"Bring your boots just in case."
Michael Maguire's simple contingency plan led to Robbie Farah being part of one of rugby league's wildest fairytale finishes before bringing his time at the Wests Tigers to a suitably dramatic end.
And Maguire insists fellow club favourites Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall won't be following Farah's lead as their season ends without contracts confirmed for 2020.
Farah's final day out for the Tigers ended on the Leichhardt scoreboard once more, he and a couple of teammates sinking a few beers in the dark after Cronulla's 25-8 triumph before a packed house.
It started with the 35-year-old no chance of playing.
He hadn't been since "early in the week" according to Maguire, who had conceded privately Farah's recovery from a broken leg inside one month was just a bridge too far with the Tigers playing for their season.
But with fullback Corey Thompson tweaking his Achilles in the pre-game warm-up, Farah went from lobbing passes to Luke Brooks in his club polo to suddenly hunting around the sheds for his backpack.
He had planned to leave it in the car, Farah resigned to sitting out the farewell seemingly scripted for him.
“The doctors did amazing things and he did amazing things to give himself an opportunity to play, but with the momentum that we had we decided that Robbie wasn’t going to play," Maguire said.
“But I said mate just bring your gear because you never know what can happen.
“I look back now and I wish I didn’t say that, but he brought his gear and at that moment in time I walked in and said righto mate you’re on."
In the end Farah sat on the bench until the result was all but over, joining the fray with less than half an hour to go and Cronulla up 24-4.
The result means Farah's time is up, and the Tigers finish in ninth once more, extending the NRL's longest finals drought to eight seasons.
Despite falling agonisingly short again there is cause for optimism at Concord considering the salary cap constraints the Tigers have worked through this year.
Maguire is still reshaping the roster he took over from Ivan Cleary less than 12 months ago, with several stars on big money told they are free to take their services elsewhere.
The sight of Lawrence and Marshall paying tribute to the Tigers faithful during Farah's lap of honour raised eyebrows.
But Maguire was adamant Lawrence has not played his last game for his junior club.
“I want Chris Lawrence here," Maguire said.
"There has been a lot go on since when I first arrived in the organisation and the position it was at, so it is tough and it has taken time.
“It does take time to try and work through things and we have spoken to Chris and I can only fit into a salary cap.
“If players want to play within that I want them here and Chris Lawrence is no different.
“He brings a lot through his leadership and just who he is as a player. He has got to help drive us to where we want to go to.”
Another one-year deal for Marshall also looms after his ongoing renaissance went to another level in 2019.
“We are working pretty hard in that space too,” Maguire said.
“I’ve said that I want Benji and he knows where we are at. With his respect he knows all we want to do is make finals.
“Those things will be sorted out over the next couple of weeks.”