Ricky Stuart said he doesn't want to coach any other club in the NRL for the rest of his career, after extending his current deal in Canberra through to the end of 2023.
Having returned to his old stomping ground as coach in 2014, Stuart’s recommitment will extend his tenure into a 10th season, pushing him past three-time premiership winner Tim Sheens as Canberra’s longest serving clipboard carrier.
The Raiders announced the new deal on Monday in a huge boost ahead of their trip to Melbourne to face the Storm in a qualifying final on Saturday.
Stuart said he was humbled by the vote of confidence from the Raiders board and pledged to continue to throw himself into the job in pursuit of the ultimate prize.
"My passion and enthusiasm for the club is 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Stuart said.
"I'm like the fan who sits out there and braves the cold, I want to win and win a competition as much as they do.
"I can assure you that every waking moment is about delivering that promise one day.
"The greatest opportunity I had in coaching, was to come back here and coach the club I played for."
Match: Storm v Raiders
Finals Week 1 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
After the disappointment of 2017, the Raiders have grown in self-belief and execution under pressure this season, both of which have been the backbone to their top-four finish.
However, Stuart revealed if he didn’t see the strides forward from the club in the past 25 weeks of competition, he might have sacrificed himself for the betterment of the club.
"I would have found it very difficult to be talking about an extension, I would have had to go into next year and that puts you in an uncomfortable position as a coach," he said.
"But I have said all along when I am not the man for the job I will step down.
My passion and enthusiasm for the club is 24 hours a day, seven days a weekRicky Stuart
"The Canberra Raiders is the most important part of this deal and making sure I can do everything we can to strive towards excellence and to win a premiership.
"But there's so much more to it, our members and our growth here as a football team."
Stuart’s revival of the Raiders into the top four and genuine title contention has him in the running for Dally M coach of the year honours.
His re-signing is set to be followed by the retentions of Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton as reported by NRL.com in the lead-up to Saturday’s game.
Reflecting on his start in the coaching ranks with the Sydney Roosters in 2002 through to his return to the national capital in 2014, Stuart said the chance to bring his family home was another great allure away from his duties in line green.
It's those family values which have been at the core of what Stuart and his staff have tried to instil at the club to ensure success long after he is gone.
"I believe we're a very humble group and we work very hard and we watch one another's backs," he said.
"It's something I am really think is helping us on the field and we've got a great relationship with our partners and community and they're things I believe are very important parts of being a Raider.
"We've got to inspire our younger players as well, that the job of the senior players and it has to be driven by myself and my staff who are all very close.
"Which breeds a good culture for the players and those under us we have to mentor and coach."
The path forward for Canberra is an incredibly bright one with a core of senior players still in the primes of their careers, a young batch of players who have taken to the NRL well in the first or second years combined with opening of their Centre of Excellence in February next year.
"I believe it's healthy and I believe it's a lesson that a lot of rugby league clubs could take a leaf our of our books, stability is important for players and staff," Stuart said.
'if we had not have developed and found some growth this season as a first-grade team I couldn't have accepted the extension.
"I appreciate the hard work the staff and players have put in to give me the opportunity to feel comfortable that I can extend (his contract) with the comfort of knowing there's a bright future in front of us."