Shane Flanagan has described the emotional toll taken on him by the NRL's indefinite ban on coaching after the former Sharks boss was given the all clear to take on an assistant role over the next two seasons.
After breaching the terms of his initial suspension five years ago, Flanagan was hit with an indefinite block on all coaching activities, but eventually claimed responsibility for the original actions during the club's and is now eligible to join an NRL club as an assistant for seasons 2020 and 2021 - although he can't resume head coach duties until 2022.
Speaking on Phil Gould's 100% Footy on Nine Monday night, Flanagan outlined some of the personal issues he encountered during his ban in a raw interview.
"The first month or two, it was awful. I didn't go out of the house for a while," Flanagan said.
"There were a lot of people who stuck really solid and helped me through that period.
"It was probably six or seven months of doing it really tough."
Flanagan also described the anguish of not teaming up during his ban at Cronulla with his son Kyle, who now prepares to depart the Sharks after two seasons to join the Sydney Roosters for 2020.
Nonetheless, the 53-year-old sought eventual closure on the difficult chapter.
"It took a couple of months to understand and to stop blaming other people and looking for excuses.
"But when the clouds started to clear and I took a bit of ownership for what happened, it was a lot easier. I got through it."
And with an assistant appointment green-lit by the NRL, Flanagan looks forward to returning and establishing his reputation once again.
"I really cherish the role I had at the Cronulla Sharks as head coach and I just need to start again now," he said.