Danny Ward on turning down Castleford Tigers, his new role at Hull KR and London Broncos reunion
The 43-year-old had six games to keep the Tigers in Super League and achieved his objective, thanks in no small part to a vital victory over relegation rivals Wakefield Trinity in his first match in charge.
Ward was offered the permanent job but could not come to an agreement with the club and was willing to wait for a more appealing offer.
His patience was rewarded when he was approached by Willie Peters about the assistant coach vacancy at Hull KR.
It says everything about KR's vision and ambition that Ward – a respected head coach – made his permanent return to Super League as Peters' deputy.
"Yes I enjoy being a head coach and my ambition is to be a head coach but I've got absolutely no dramas about being an assistant, as long as there are good people there to work with and learn from," Ward told The Yorkshire Post.
"I've been down here (in Surrey) coaching in rugby union, high schools and community clubs. I just love coaching, whatever capacity it is.
"I feel I'm still only young as a coach and there's lots of development ahead of me.
"It's a different role but I've been an assistant before at first-team level (with London and Great Britain). You get to enjoy coaching a little bit more and don't deal with stuff that sometimes can take you away from your day-to-day coaching role.
"It's definitely a project you want to get your teeth into and be a part of."
Fresh from reaching the Challenge Cup final and finishing fourth in Super League, the Robins were awarded Grade A status by IMG ahead of the rollout of the new grading system at the end of next year.
If they stay true to their values, the sky is the limit for KR, according to Ward.
"Rovers are a club on the up," he added. "Everyone I speak to says really good things about them.
"Performances on the field last year were really good and the IMG score proved they're elite across all departments.
"Hull KR are capable of anything they want to be, as long as they keep improving.
"I don't want to shout about what we can do or what the goals are. What I will say is you can't be happy with what you've done the season before. That counts for nothing once pre-season starts."
Ward will eventually be joined by his family in East Yorkshire as he fully embraces his new challenge in familiar surroundings.
The former prop – a Grand Final winner with Leeds Rhinos earlier in his career – spent the 2007 season at Craven Park as a player.
"It's a great club to be a part of," said Ward. "They were welcoming from the off.
"Some of the same people are there which shows the consistency they have. I met some great blokes who I'm still good friends with now.
"It was enjoyable going into training every day and it's a great city to play rugby in. They're fanatical about the sport and appreciate when you turn up and work hard."
Ward is certainly appreciated across Yorkshire in Castleford after steering the club to safety.
The expectation was that Ward would stay on at Wheldon Road permanently but "sometimes things aren't right on both sides and you shake hands and go your separate ways".
"I don't really want to get into the reasons why I didn't take it," he added.
"I did enjoy my time at Cas and went fully thinking I wanted to be there longer but it wasn't quite the right fit for me at that time and I had to turn it down.
"I'm never going to take a job just for the sake of it being offered. It's got to feel right for me and my family, and something that excites me and that I can really get my teeth into.
"If it doesn't tick those boxes, you've got to make those tough decisions – and it was a very tough decision to turn it down.
"I turned Castleford down and then Hull KR came out of the blue so you never know what's around the corner.
"It's good to be involved at a club like Hull KR now. I'm happy, we're all happy and ready for this new challenge."
As Rovers look to take the next step by winning silverware in 2024, Castleford are seeking stability under new boss Craig Lingard.
Ward was happy to play his part in keeping the Tigers in Super League.
"It was a no-brainer for me to take that job on," said the Dewsbury native.
"I was buzzing when I got offered it. Although it was short term, it kind of suited me in the sense that it was black and white what we had to do.
"We achieved what we went in there to achieve. It was up and down, as sport is.
"It was rocks and diamonds. We either won or lost pretty big. In the circumstances, we didn't have time to mope too much. It was tough but you know you're only a performance away from turning it around.
"I went in with my eyes fully open. I enjoyed it and have got fond memories."
Ward will enjoy an unexpected reunion with London next year after Mike Eccles' side defied the odds to win the Championship Grand Final.
A low IMG score means the Broncos are set for a short stay in Super League but Ward is positive about the capital club's future.
"What they did was unbelievable," he said.
"I knew they had a chance because it was as tight a comp as they've ever had in the Championship.
"I kept in contact with Mike Eccles and some of the other boys down at London and you could see them peaking at the right time.
"It's amazing for the game and the people involved in the club that they're back in Super League. The IMG score means they know where they're at now and gives them a roadmap of where they need to get to.
"I can't wait to lock horns with them next year."