The production line of coaches-in-waiting emerging from St George Illawarra's recent retirees could swell, with Matt Cooper indicating he is considering the idea once he hangs up the boots.
Cooper watched on as Nathan Fien confirmed his intention to take up a captain-coach role with Illawarra Coal League outfit Thirroul in 2014, ending a stellar 14-year NRL career.
Endorsing Fien as having the potential to be a "great coach", Cooper indicated the thought had also crossed his mind in the twilight of his own career.
The veteran centre is mulling his own future having endured a wretched run with long-term toe and pectoral injuries this season.
Cooper, along with skipper Ben Creagh, Michael Weyman and Brett Morris, flanked Fien at his retirement announcement on Thursday.
Quizzed on whether coaching could also figure in his future plans, Cooper said: "I'd love to still be involved in rugby league . . . whether it's [head] coaching or some other type of coaching.
"I'm pretty passionate about helping the young blokes and improving a player's career."
Cooper's longtime teammates and fellow one-club stalwarts Ben Hornby and Dean Young have been eased into coaching positions after drawing the curtain on their careers last year.
Hornby (St George) and Young (Illawarra) were mentors for SG Ball sides earlier in 2013, before assisting the Dragons' Holden Cup and NSW Cup squads later in the year.
If Cooper was to eventually sign on as the club's next retiree to take up the clipboard, he would be the fourth to do so from the Dragons' 2010 title-winning side.
"I think the transition from playing to post-playing is different for everybody," Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said.
"We're fortunate to have these guys who want to take on a career in coaching and give back to the game in that sense.
"I think the Butchers . . . is a pathway opportunity where he can find his level."
Cooper said: "Obviously you can't have a coach on the field while you play so you need leaders on the field and people who have got that instinct in them. [Fien] is one of those players.
"Dean Young was one of those players. Ben Hornby was one of those players. You know as a player who can be a coach and who can't be a coach and I think Fiensy will be a great coach."
The similarities between Cooper and Fien are uncanny: they're the same age, won representative jerseys with their state, country and the NRL All Stars and even debuted in the same round way back in 2000.
And it's been through a difficult couple of years for the Dragons the pair really became close.
"It's sad to see him leave, but the good thing is he's staying local," Cooper said.
He has remained a constant around St George Illawarra's set-up despite only featuring in eight matches this season.
"I've been pretty lucky over my career not to get any major injuries, but this has been my worst year," he said.