Returning Forbes Magpies coach Cameron Greenhalgh says there are no hard feelings towards Mitch Andrews after the premiership-winning star's move to Bathurst St Pat's.
Forbes junior Andrews, one of the biggest names in the Peter McDonald Premiership, has made the switch to the Group 10 club after winning two titles with the Magpies.
After winning one of those titles in 2022 under Greenhalgh, Andrews took on the captain-coach's role alongside Nick Greenhalgh for 2023.
The title defence didn't go as planned and after collecting the Group 11 pool's wooden spoon, the young pair signalled their intention to focus solely on playing moving forward.
That led one of the most respected coaches in the region to return to the role and he's ready to take it on without Andrews in the lineup.
"You can't keep him forever and if he wants to make a change, good on him," Greenhalgh said of the former NSW Country representative.
"I've got no dramas if that's what he's doing and getting a bit of a change of town and a change of scenery.
"I think this year was frustrating for him. He probably played six games for Forbes due to injury and suspension ... if he goes over there and has a new start they might see the best of him and the best of Mitch can be devastating."
Andrews' departure leaves a huge hole in the side but the Magpies are expected to make a number of signings ahead of the 2024 season.
The bulk of those are expected to be Forbes juniors or former Magpies. The exciting pair of Jack Hartwig and Tom Phillips fit that category and they are all but certain to return after stints in the lower grades at Canberra and St George Illawarra respectively.
"They're 22 now and a bit more mature and I think they're more than ready to come and make a mark in the bush," Greenhalgh said.
Mosese Quionimacawa, who scored a double in the 2018 grand final win over Dubbo CYMS, could also return after playing with the Fiji Kiviti Silktails in the Ron Massey Cup and Ipswich in the Queensland Cup.
Players like Ben Maguire and Jake Haddrill who were part of the 2022 title-winning outfit are also comeback contenders.
Former NRL player and Fijian international Pio Seci is also expected to be back after arriving at the Magpies midway through this year.
The experience and muscle provided by those players would be welcomed after a hugely frustrating 2023 campaign.
The Magpies lost six games by 10 or less points while two draws were also recorded in a year of missed opportunities.
The returning Greenhalgh feels only a few small things need to change to turn those narrow losses to victories and it's something he's excited to work on after struggling to watch from the sidelines.
A self-confessed "control-freak", Greenhalgh was still around the club this year and while proud of the work his son and Andrews were doing, there were times he wanted to be more involved.
"You could tell how much effort they (Nick Greenhalgh and Andrews) were putting into what they were doing and you could tell that it was getting them down a bit and that's what happens," he said.
"Unfortunately when you're coaching and you're passionate about it, it can knock you around a little bit.
"It was a bit frustrating in a way where I was not having as much say as I have done in the past.
"I'm sort of a bit of a control freak, I guess. I wanted to have a say and it just happened. There was an opportunity because the boys didn't want to do it again."
One thing likely to change is discipline.
One of the biggest challenges facing this year's young mentors was telling good mates and players older than them what to do and that's not always a simple task.
"I would have done things a little bit different. I would have been a little bit harder on blokes at times," Greenhalgh said.
"That can be a big thing too when you're the same age or older and you're the boss. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made."
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