Michael Maguire and Sam Burgess first met in the stands of an empty English football stadium, and the ex-Souths mentor hopes the retiring Rabbitoh will one day join him in the NRL's coaching ranks.
Maguire delivered a glowing appraisal of Burgess's leadership qualities in the wake of the Englishman's retirement on Wednesday, the pair forever bonded by their lead roles in ending South Sydney's 43-year premiership drought in 2014.
Burgess is holidaying in Mexico and has no shortage of post-footballing options, writing "I’m excited for my next chapter in life whatever that may be" in an open letter to Rabbitohs fans.
He is contracted to Fox Sports and shapes as a media personality of real promise, having long been regarded for his forthright views and speaking his mind throughout his career.
Maguire has privately urged Burgess to pursue coaching at the top level in the next phase of his career.
"I really hope he pursues his coaching. He's a very smart player with great ability to help younger players especially develop their game," Maguire told NRL.com from New Zealand, where he is preparing the Kiwis for Saturday's Test against Great Britain.
"He's got his media commitments that serve him very well but I hope one day he gets into coaching.
"I have spoken to him about that and I hope that in time he'll inspire a lot of young men in that space with his knowledge of the game."
Souths have already installed fellow retirees Greg Inglis and John Sutton as development coaches under Wayne Bennett in 2020.
The club is willing to have Burgess stay involved in whatever capacity suits both parties.
The Rabbitohs' attention now turns to their application to have the 30-year-old medically retired and the NRL's ruling on how much of his $1 million salary is exempt from their salary cap, a decision that is expected to land before Christmas.
Burgess and Maguire delivered the ultimate gift to the foundation club five years ago in a long-awaited premiership, having first met shortly before the coach took charge of the Rabbitohs in 2012.
From the outset the now-Wests Tigers coach knew he had a player of rare skill and toughness, never more evident than Burgess's Clive Churchill Medal-winning performance with a fractured cheekbone in 2014.
As well as regularly training and playing through injury and pain, Burgess has courted controversy on and off the paddock throughout his career, footballing experience Maguire believes would help him as a coach.
"I remember sitting down with him for the first time, he rang me when I was just about to leave for Souths and come back and we went and sat in the stands at Reebok Stadium [home ground of the Bolton Wanderers]," Maguire said.
"I remember having just such a high opinion of him based on how he spoke about the game, his personality and what he wanted to achieve.
"The thing about Sam that I saw that is worth mentioning in regards to his leadership is exactly how much he helps young men believe in themselves when he came into contact with them.
"That great ability to lead men and do things they've never done before within a game of football. I saw him help so many young players during our time there at Souths.
"Unfortunately at times he's put himself in some tough positions in and around the game but the competitor in him has allowed him to play at the absolute peak for a long period of time.
"He's an inspirational player, and a player everyone wanted to play with and be around on and off the park because of a very magnetic personality.
"He's a real clubman and it's going to be a huge loss for Souths.
"I'm very thankful I was able to work with him when he played some great footy."