Maitland Pickers coach Luke Dorn will step down as coach at the end of the 2019 season.
Dorn told the club and his players of his decision at training on Tuesday night, citing insufficient time going forward to meet the club's desire for a full club coach.
"It's a time thing with my young family and work," Dorn said. "The club feel like they want to go down more a club coaching role in terms of someone who is going to be able to be across all grades.
"I considered it, but I cannot commit anymore time than what I already do.
"I informed the club I won't be coaching next year."
Dorn and the club are hoping that his tenure will extend beyond Saturday's final round encounter against Lakes United well into the semi-finals.
"It's not for me, we need to hopefully perform to the best of our ability to give ourselves a crack at showing what we are capable of," he said.
Dorn, 37, played juniors for the East Maitland Griffins and Morpeth Bulls, racked up a combined 316 games in the NRL and English Super League between 2002 and 2016 before returning Maitland in 2017.
After just playing for the Pickers in 2017, he took over the reins as captain-coach in 2018 narrowly missing out on winning the minor premiership after finishing second last the year before.
He was non-playing coach this season and victory on Saturday, or a loss by Cessnock, will ensure Maitland make semi-finals out on winning the minor premiership making the finals
Dorn said he had loved coaching even in the tough times.
"I loved having an influence on the players being able to implement things to address the strengths and weaknesses of the team and make players better," he said.
"I hope I have had an influence on the players. I'm proud of what they have achieved while I've been coach.
"To go from where they were in the competition for a fair chunk of time to hopefully what will be consecutive semi-finals with us winning on the weekend.
"I think what the players have achieved while I've been coach is something I'm proud of.
"I'm pleased with what I've got out of the squad and how the individuals within the squad have got better.
"It's been great, It's not without its challenge but it's been an enjoyable thing, something I've always wanted to do.
"But in terms of where I am in my life with my family and work, in the real world so to speak, I'm not able to give anymore time than what I already do."
Pickers president Frank Lawler said the club owed Dorn a huge debt of gratitude for his contributions over the past three seasons.
"I think Dorny has been been very good for the club. He will be missed for sure," Lawler said.
"He lifted the club back into the finals in his first year as coach and we should be back there this year.
"With his young family and his work he felt he was unable to commit the time requested or required for the job."
Maitland will begin advertising for coaches in all grades in this weekend's Newcastle Rugby League record and Lawler said he hoped to have a decision made soon after the close off date of August 31 for applications.
"We're open to all avenues as to whether it will be a playing coach or non-playing coach," Lawler said.
"We want someone who can take an overall view, perhaps help work with the 19s and the juniors bringing them through and making sure we can get them coming into Maitland.
"We want to finalise the process pretty quickly as it is difficult to sign players when they don't know who the coach is."
Dorn said it would be strange not to be involved in footy.
"Not even in a professional sense, it will be the first time since I was nine maybe even younger that I haven't played or been involved in footy so it will be interesting.
"It will be nice to go to a game and not be worrying about the result or stressing about players or injuries.
"As much as I love coaching, I will love coming to the Sportsground as an old Maitland player and coach and just enjoy the day."
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