Mark Gliddon pulled his players in after last Sunday's 12-6 loss to Townsville and told them that he would be standing down as coach of Norths Devils at the end of the season.
After seven straight losses, Gliddon was enough of a realist to know that his head may have been on the chopping block regardless. As the people he would miss the most, his players had to be among the first to know of his decision.
Every coach lives and dies by the win-loss column but it was a culmination of a few different facets that brought Gliddon to the point where he knew the best thing for himself and the team was to step aside after five years in the role.
Don't be mistaken, the mounting losses hurt a coach at any level – but the beginning of the inquest into the death of James Ackerman who passed away in a match against Norths two years ago eventually took its toll on Gliddon.
The fact that the budget had also shrunk in recent years was another factor.
"I looked at the budget from the previous years when they made the grand final (in 2010) and that probably put me over the edge," Gliddon said.
"The James Ackerman inquest came up at the same time and then we got absolutely pumped by Mackay and it all became a bit too much for me.
"I just thought, 'I need to get out' and I'm one of these people that when I make a decision I stick to it."
After a narrow loss against the Blackhawks in Round 1 the Devils' stint in the Intrust Super Cup finals wilderness appeared to be coming to an end when they recorded successive victories over Burleigh, Ipswich, PNG and the Capras.
But Kodi Nikorima's elevation into the Brisbane Broncos team and a mounting injury toll stretched Norths' depth too thin and soon enough the losses began to mount.
"It just wore me down," said Gliddon.
"I wasn't getting results and I can assure you it wasn't from a lack of hard work.
"We have a small budget and we have to stick to it.
"I looked back at the budget that Norths had in 2010 and it was probably double what we've got now and that was the last time they made the semi-finals.
"It's an old saying; if you keep doing what you're doing you're going to keep getting what you've got and that's why I thought it was time for me to move on.
"One door closes and another opens and I'll look forward to the next chapter."
Gliddon will see out the rest of the season with Norths and then work as Brian McDermott's assistant with the US team at the Rugby League World Cup at the end of the year.
Big fan of Lucas
While he remains open to new coaching opportunities, he has another full-time role within rugby league in the offing but says it is the players he will miss the most, and one in particular.
"One I'll really miss is Michael Lucas," he said. "I'm a big fan of Michael Lucas. He's been there since the day I showed up there in 2013 as the reserve grade coach and he's worked his way through and I think he's the second-leading try-scorer in Norths’ history now.
"Michael could be anything."
"You get to an age where you can't play anymore because your body is old and useless and you want to stay in the game so you take up coaching.
"I made some really good friends in my time at Norths, with players and our CEO Jamie Dowse and the rest of the staff there.
"I wish them all the success, they've been nothing but good to me and I'm glad I got to leave on my terms."
Did you know?
Norths have a poor history against the Pride and have never won in Cairns (eight losses and a draw in 2012). The Pride have won seven of the past eight matches between the two teams and in their most recent meeting the Pride triumphed 22-20. The Pride's six-game losing streak is their worst run while Norths have lost their past seven; at least one club will have something to celebrate on Saturday night.
A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.