NOBODY is surprised Darren Leaney has accepted a permanent appointment to coach Woolgoolga Seahorses in 2008 but the way the decision was arrived at is a little different.
"The family sat down to discuss the matter and it was at the suggestion of my wife and son I took the job," Leaney said.
"We're all going to be affected by going back to coaching so I wanted to do it for the right reasons.
"Everybody will treat it as part of our leisure activities and not just as a job."
So, whenever the Seahorses travel away from the 'aquarium', the Leaney family will more than likely hitch up the pop top camper, load up with tents and camping gear and make it a weekend event.
"When we played Macksville near the end of last season we stayed down there and had a fantastic time," the coach said.
"A few beers and a meal on Friday night, a surf and some sightseeing on Saturday, then off to the football on Sunday.
"It got me thinking when you're not treating the game as a chore you prepare better and are more focussed on what you're there to do, and that's win."
But before the players start thinking the regime under the former Country Player of the Year will be all fun and no work, Leaney has a serious message to deliver.
"There's a clinical side to this also and I've got to lead it through training and preparation," he stressed.
"When the boys get together I'll lay all the ducks in a row and tell them if the effort goes in at training, we'll make sure the match will be fun, enjoyable and worthwhile taking part in.
"The good and bad times of the past are behind us and what counts is making our own future by pulling together and making each other's company a good place to be."
While almost a decade separates Leaney from his playing days he's never really been far from the action as the family has grown and he's built a high profile business career.
Surprisingly, his only 'official' first grade coaching stint was with Bellingen and the Magpies made the semi finals in a season disrupted by injury.
Since then, he's been influential behind the scenes with Orara Valley while never turning down a request for advice or assistance from any club or player.
But when Michael Close stood down from coaching the Seahorses last July, Leaney's appointment to guide the club through the final five weeks of the season came right out of left field.
In his first match in charge the team within six days turned a 48-point belting by Port Sharks into a ten point victory over arch rivals Coffs Harbour.
Reality returned with three straight losses before ending the year with a victory over Bellingen.
"I've expressed my ideas to management about whom and what we need to build three competitive football teams and the work will start right away," Leaney added.
"But I want the players to know that while ever I'm coach we're all in this together and to forget all talk of who's getting what and what somebody else is doing.
"I'm just another bloke who's played football and is right there with them."