Ernie Merrick's enduring a second season slump at Newcastle, but it hasn't affected his dry sense of humour.
If the Newcastle coach is finding it difficult to undergo a loss of momentum after the Jets' Grand Final loss last year, he's not showing it.
Maybe the 65-year-old is relaxed because of his side's phenomenal record in the F3 Derby - Central Coast Mariners have only won one of their last eleven meetings with the Jets - which has the potential to push Newcastle back into the top six this weekend.
Or perhaps it's because a little reminder of former glories has dropped in, at the advice of Graham Arnold, to conduct extra training in preparation for the Socceroos' 2019 Asian Cup campaign.
"Nabbout wanted to transfer from Urawa Reds to us, but we said 'No thanks, we've got enough strikers,'" Merrick sardonically told the awaiting press as his former talisman ambled around in the background.
"I couldn't hear that question because Nabbout is shouting his head off around the corner. I can tell that he's back, thankfully it's only a week.
"He's got a lot of friends here, it's like he's never been away. But he could have come back to a lot of different clubs to train and it speaks volumes of the culture we have here at Newcastle."
The gags didn't end there, with Merrick keen to take a jovial swipe at the competition's referees, after Newcastle were on the sticking end of another controversial decision against Perth.
"I've had one phone call from someone who wasn't involved who tried to explain the situation, now I'm expecting a call from (A-League boss) Greg O'Rourke to repay the fine I paid earlier this year," he laughed.
"It's been a while, I'm thinking about charging interest."
In particular, Merrick's keen to put one haunting suspension behind him by rushing Roy O'Donovan back into the side against his former club, with the Irish striker returning from a ban he received in last season's decider.
"It'll be full of strikers this weekend," he said. "You have to play to your strengths and we might cop it at the back but we'll be playing a lot of strikers this weekend.
"I really hope a lot of our fans can make the trip up to Central Coast to see it just before Christmas.
"Roy will need to have mental strength in the game. He's not really match fit to A-League standards and the expectation on him is extremely high, he'll be keeping an eye on the referee and trying his best to ensure he doesn't get a yellow or red card.
"It's probably not really fair, but I think he has the ability to handle the pressure."