If there was ever any doubt about the validity of the old adage 'defence wins premierships', the Sydney Roosters certainly put them to bed in their historic back-to-back premiership victories.
Craig Fitzgibbon was the man responsible for the Tricolours' iron-clad defence that saw them concede the fewest points in 2018 and the second-fewest in 2019.
After playing over 200 games for the club and captaining them from 2006 to 2009, Fitzgibbon was an ideal choice to join Trent Robinson's coaching staff - though his path to the role was unusual.
"To be perfectly honest with you, probably fear," Fitzgibbon told the Talking with TK podcast when asked why he got into coaching.
"I just went 'I've got to get good at something real quick or I'm not going to have much,' so that made me finally commit (to coaching)."
"The hardest thing to do is actually admit you want to be a coach," he continued.
NEW EPISODE OUT NOW WITH ROOSTERS LEGEND CRAIG FITZGIBBON. We chat a host of stories from his illustrious career with the #sydneyRoosters and Dragons and some great insights into life as a coach in the #nrl free to listen at https://t.co/8kEaH8xfqJ pic.twitter.com/3PT2HcistK
- Tristan K'Nell (@talkingwithtk) March 11, 2020
"As a senior player, the last couple of years you kind of end up nurturing and going into a coaching mindset anyway - and you love working with your young players.
"When you get a result out of a younger player that actually responds, I found it really uplifting - but I still didn't want to admit I wanted to be a coach."
Despite a rocky start to his coaching career that saw the cellar-dwelling 2012 Roosters side part ways with then head coach Brian Smith - the man who welcomed Fitzgibbon into the club's coaching ranks - he has enjoyed incredible success since.
While incoming coach Trent Robinson has already been inundated with praise for the Roosters' dominance of late, Fitzgibbon wasn't short of praise for his mentor.
"I joke all the time that I'm just running off Robinson's coat-tails," he laughed.
"(Robinson) is a really good teacher and it's no secret he's very intelligent and he's got a super high footy IQ so it's just a great environment to learn under.
"It's a really well-established program, it's really well organized.
"He's very much the architect and I'd be builder for him," he said.
When quizzed on his own philosophy for successful defences, Fitzgibbon was all but assured.
"Preparation and connection among the group.
"We just have an unwavering set of belief, if we do what we've prepared to do and we set out to do it together.
"That's not an attitude type thing - I think it's easier to say defence is just an attitude - but that's the culmination of a lot of work that's gone into that."
For the full interview visit Talking with TK Podcast