George Ndaira will continue to keep a close eye on the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs next season despite deciding to leave the club.
The Bulldogs captain-coach of two years has taken up the role of assistant coach with the Newcastle Knights NSW Cup squad for 2014 only a few months after Kurri made the Newcastle Rugby League first grade grand final.
Ndaira missed the play-offs because of a shoulder injury and on the eve of the campaign, after failing to sign with Kurri, the club installed former Bulldogs premiership player Phil Williams as head coach for next year.
Williams was keen for Ndaira to play on with Kurri in 2014 but post-season the former NRL player and Lebanon representative has decided to concentrate on coaching.
The opportunity for Ndaira to link back up with Newcastle NSW Cup coach Rick Stone was also a draw card following their days together at the Knights in 2009 and 2010.
“The spot opened up and Rick [Stone] called to see if I would be interested,” Ndaira said.
“I was interested but I wanted to wait until the season finished with Kurri because I wanted to put everything into that without any distractions.
“I’ve really enjoyed my two years at Kurri especially the coaching side – I want to help people learn and help teach people.”
Ndaira said his new role involves watching local games, including Kurri, and he would keep up to date with his former club.
As for his playing future Ndaira, who has since married, hasn’t hung up the boots just yet.
“It is [my last game] for now,” he said.
“My shoulder is still a bit sore and the doctor’s have said I need to give it six to 12 months before I’m back at 100 percent.
“I would have missed the start of the season anyway so I will give it the time to get it right and go from there.”