Nathan Fien won an NRL premiership under Wayne Bennett at the Dragons in 2010, so on one level, reuniting with him as an inaugural Dolphins assistant coach made perfect sense.
On another level even the 43-year-old Fien said the call from Dolphins coach Bennett came "a little bit out of the blue", after he'd won four premierships as a coach with Thirroul and Collegians in the Illawarra competition since retiring as a player.
Other NRL assistant coaches have flasher resumes, so when Bennett came calling it was an offer the former New Zealand international simply could not refuse.
"I was very pleasantly surprised and it's an opportunity to further my coaching career ... and what an opportunity here at the Dolphins," Fien told reporters after Dolphins training on Monday.
"A lot of coaches get to this level their own way but for me, staying at the local level with Thirroul and Collegians gave me the opportunity to run a squad, manage the day-to-day running of a club and be a mentor to the young guys.
"Wayne has seen something he thought I might be able to bring here and we have that good working relationship from years past."
Fien, who was born in the tough Queensland town of Mt Isa, said he had moulded his own coaching ethos on what he had learned from Bennett. The Dolphins have a group of players who will need to be like Fien was as a player.
"As a player, I probably wasn't the most skilful guy but when we got down and dirty and crossed that white line it was game on," he said.
"I wanted to try and be that player every player wanted to play with, and if I can get a bit of that into the Dolphins club and into our DNA that will keep us in good stead and competitive in a lot of matches."
Fien said Dolphins forward signing Herman Ese'ese was one of the players set to enjoy "a second coming" after playing under Bennett previously at the Broncos in 2016 and 2017.
The 28-year-old is at his fifth NRL club but played his best football in 2017 when Brisbane reached the preliminary final.
"I want to find that form and I know Wayne is the man to get the best out of me," Ese'ese said after Bennett took his first skills session as the new coach.
"I was only 21 (at the Broncos) and I had senior guys like Corey Parker, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday and Alex Glenn to look up to and improve my skills.
"Now I am older I want to take that responsibility on."
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.