Mark Gasnier has urged St George Illawarra's band of young centres to model themselves on Matt Cooper as the Dragons begin the search for his successor.
Hailing Cooper as "up there" with the Dragons greats, Gasnier formed a lethal partnership with the Shellharbour junior as the pair earned State of Origin and Australian honours.
But it is Cooper's professionalism in an injury-stricken last couple of years at the club that Gasnier hopes will be his lasting impression on the Red V's Generation Next.
"A lot of these younger guys see how dedicated Coops is to his training," Gasnier told the Mercury.
"I think it's important, and Coops understands that now more so than ever, the legacy you leave behind for younger players really stays at the forefront of their mind for a long period of time.
"He's a really approachable person and I have no doubt he would have already given both [Charly Runciman and Nathan Green] a lot of advice."
NSW under 20s star Runciman will have an opportunity to stake his claim for Cooper's permanent spot in St George Illawarra's final three matches this year.
He was rushed back into the Dragons' line-up for the clash against Cronulla last week after overcoming a hamstring problem.
Nathan Green, handed seven NRL matches this year, is shadowing Runciman, while the Dragons have recruited Souths' Dylan Farrell for 2014.
Incumbent right centre Chase Stanley has not yet sorted his future beyond this season, while last year's major off-season recruit, Gerard Beale, is tipped to make his own transition to the outside backs.
They will do well to match Cooper's feats, which include being the third most capped Dragon (243 games) of all time and the joint venture's leading try-scorer (124).
Quizzed on where Cooper will rank among the St George Illawarra greats, Gasnier said: "I think he'll be held right up there.
"The stats are in his favour, but the Dragons have always been blessed centre-wise."
"If you take into account the merger we had blokes like Mark Coyne, Paul McGregor and Shaun Timmins, but I think he'll be right up there among them.
"I remember he was in and out of first grade and playing a bit of back row, had a few injuries and I think there was even talk the club was going to let him go for a while," Gasnier said.
"When Nathan Brown came in he obviously saw a rough diamond in Coops and he basically said, 'Coops, you're going to be my centre'.
"I thought that was when he really started to work hard, especially in defence, but I think he was under-rated in the attack stakes."