I still have a close relationship with the Sydney Roosters and have the privilege of entering the changing rooms where I have seen players, coaches and CEOs come and go.
One thing still alive within the club is tradition and rivalries. One not lost on we older Roosters is the original rivalry with neighbours South Sydney, the Warriors' opponents today.
It goes back to the founding of both clubs in 1908 - the only two foundation clubs in the NRL. They don't like each other. South Sydney was the working class playing the upper class of the Eastern Suburbs. This feeling lasted decades.
My first game with the club (Easts as it was then) was against Souths at the old Sydney Sports Ground now the location of the Sydney Football Stadium.
It was a jaw-dropping experience and I was introduced to passion, sledging, aggression and vile intimidation like I had never thought possible in a sports environment.
And that was just the fans.
Then I played the game and was subjected to 10 times that, especially for being a Kiwi. Dean Bell also debuted for Easts that day and I heard him called the worst names ever.
Wow - this was just supposed to be a game of footy but, no, it was war. There was hate beaming out of their eye sockets. That continued for the rest of my days at Easts and I bought into it, because it's easy to absorb the culture of those around you.
Since leaving Sydney, my feelings toward Souths tempered to that of dislike but the pleasure of 'us' beating 'them' is still significant today, as I'm sure it is with Rabbitohs fans.
However, that dislike has changed in the last couple of years with the introduction of a new breed of leadership at Souths. The high-profile owners have brought a new corporate environment to the scene and coach Michael Maguire has promoted a new thinking to shape the psyche of the players, which I admire.
Making players understand their role within the team and their accountability to the team is paramount; this is before their accountability to the club, owners and fans. If you understand and accept that team accountability comes first, the rest falls into place.
The Rabbitohs needed to change because they used to play on passion to please the fans and used them or their rivalries as motivation for a game.
I haven't mentioned the quality of the players they have signed because that is secondary. If new recruits don't buy into the culture, they won't fit in and will be squeezed out by the environment, not by management.
This is now a quality team I love to watch because they have the discipline of respect - and such respect keeps the feet on the ground. Hence they take nothing for granted, including the opposition, irrespective of where that team is placed on the ladder.
The world is changing for an old Rooster to speak in such terms of the Rabbitohs; watch this team come September.