This time last year Dan Mortimer left the door ajar for a homecoming and now he's back to lead Orange CYMS' bid to return to Group 10's zenith, having inked a two-year deal to captain-coach his junior club.
CYMS released a statement via Facebook late on Thursday night to confirm Mortimer will return to don green and gold for the first time in more than a decade, his signing coming a tick under a year after he retired from the professional game.
He'll replace outgoing captain-coach Dom Maley who mentored CYMS through a difficult, injury-plagued 2019 season in which they missed the finals for just the second time since 2010.
Mortimer's signing brings a mountain of star power back to the club, the 30-year-old's bringing an extensive playing resume back to a club that he believes was influential in his growth as a player.
"I'm really excited to announce I'll be joining the club again for two years as captain-coach," Mortimer, who also spent time with English Championship outfit Leigh, said.
To the players, supporters and sponsors of the club, I really look forward to pulling on that jersey I haven't worn for about 14 years... It's great to be green, again.New Orange CYMS signing Daniel Mortimer is pleased to be back at his junior club
"CYMS always played a huge role in my development as a player and I'm really looking forward to getting back.
"To the players, supporters and sponsors of the club, I really look forward to pulling on that jersey I haven't worn for about 14 years.
"It's great to be green, again."
The 30-year-old's NRL career spanned 128 games across four clubs and included a magical premiership win with the Roosters in 2013, making another grand final appearance four years prior with Parramatta.
The latter was his debut season in 2009, he made his first appearance when the Eels were sitting 14th and helped the side - inspired by Jarryd Hayne's out-of-body form that year - sneak into the finals and make a memorable run to the decider.
A qualified teacher, Mortimer played the 2019 season with Currumbin on the Gold Coast, where he and his wife Tasley have been living, and lifted the Eagles to a third finish.
He signed with the Eagles after speculation he'd land in the Northern Rivers competition, and also fielded an offer from the Mudgee Dragons too.
Mortimer said he agonised over the Dragons' offer before declining it, with Mudgee ultimately signing former Wests Tigers and Manly half Jack Littlejohn.