Shattered NSW coach Ricky Stuart has given his strongest indication he will return to the State of Origin arena in 2013.
Stuart was in no mood to contemplate the future after the Blues' heart-breaking 21-20 loss to Queensland in the Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
But the 45-year-old strongly hinted he was ready to finish the job he started two years ago.
Stuart has been linked to NRL club coaching positions at Parramatta, Canberra and Sydney Roosters but he's yet to publicly reveal his future for next year.
The NSW Rugby League has made it clear it wants an Origin coach who isn't in charge of an NRL club.
Asked his thoughts at the post-match press conference on whether he would be back to stop the Maroons juggernaut claiming an eighth straight series victory, Stuart told reporters: "It's very early.
"I absolutely love this. I don't love this moment right now but I absolutely love what I'm doing right at the moment."
Stuart had one hand on the shoulder of Blues skipper Paul Gallen as the pair made the long walk down to waiting media.
Asked whether Gallen could take some consolation from the fact the Blues pushed the Maroons all the way in a tough and uncompromising series, the inspirational prop replied: "It doesn't say pride on the trophy.
"It's on again next year and we'll be ready to go then. It was seriously a cracking game of footy.
"It was the best game of footy I have played in. It was unfortunate one team had to lose."
Centre Josh Morris and hooker Robbie Farah were outstanding for the Blues in a losing side.
Morris leapt high over Darius Boyd to pull off a remarkable catch and score a 70th minute try that brought the visitors back into the contest.
Farah made a game-high 55 tackles and had two try-assists, both from clever kicks.
He didn't deserve a late error which cost the Blues a chance at snatching a late victory.
All this after being concussed in the 15th minute in a head knock with Nate Myles.
"He doesn't remember the first part of the game," Stuart said. "There no doubt (he's come of age as an Origin footballer)."