Interim Canterbury coach Mick Potter has distanced himself from pursuing a second coming in the NRL fulltime, saying he feels freer just focusing on the 2022 campaign.
Potter will go from a family holiday to coaching in a NRL match inside four days on Friday when he takes charge of the Bulldogs for the first time against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt.
He will do so after a week of turmoil following Trent Barrett's exit grew even more challenging on Thursday, with Josh Addo-Carr ruled out of the clash with influenza.
The Bulldogs will at least have Matt Burton and Luke Thompson at their disposal, after the pair missed training earlier this week with the illness.
But regardless, Potter remained calm about the situation.
Last seen in first grade when cut by the Tigers at the end of 2014, Potter had happily come to terms with the idea his days as an NRL coach were over.
He returned as coach Canterbury's then-feeder club Mounties in NSW Cup in 2020, and even then had no inclination to seek a return to the NRL.
While the two-time Bulldogs premiership player is seen as a familiar voice needed to help save their season, he is adamant he has not cast an eye to prolonging his return beyond this year.
"It's a case of I just accepted this position on what it is," Potter said.
"And I am happy to have that, and I think if I keep my mindset like that I think it will be better for me.
"I feel so much freer by the knowledge that I just have a certain period to do it."
Potter made clear on Thursday he was willing to embrace Phil Gould's influence at the club, while also certain he himself has changed since exiting the Tigers.
"I have learned more in the last few years," Potter said.
"I need to be a little more patient and a little bit more subtle with my language. But also a bit harder at times.
"I have mellowed. As you get older you mellow."
Potter would be considered an outsider for the fulltime Canterbury coaching role at this stage, with premiership winners Paul Green and Shane Flanagan among the front-runners.
Cameron Ciraldo, Jason Ryles, and Kristian Woolf are considered the next coaches in waiting, while off-contract Tigers mentor Michael Maguire insisted he had not considered the move when asked on Thursday.
Potter is used to dealing with delicate situations.
Before his time in the NRL he took charge of Catalans in their first year in the English Super League, and also presided over Bradford as they entered into administration in 2012.
At Canterbury he now oversees a club that Gould has already flagged for a significant roster overhaul before 2024, when their salary cap will be in a far cleaner position.
He must also turn around their attack, suggesting he will make small structural changes after the Bulldogs scored just 96 points in the first 10 rounds.
"It's a good challenge," Potter said.
"On the table they are only a game away from being one rung up on the ladder."
Australian Associated Press
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