It's perhaps a sign of the size of the stick Ian Schubert wielded that, even with one foot out the door, the celebrations - and there would have been some - were still muted.
For one thing, Schubert, the departing NRL salary cap auditor, will be poring over contracts into January. That stick could have some whack in it yet. But as one club chief executive said: ''You'd rather let sleeping dogs lie.''
And so continued the silence around one of the most controversial figures in the game, who has ruled the salary cap, rightly or wrongly, since the beginning of the NRL premiership in 1998.
The silence has long come from others, wary of publicly criticising or questioning him, fearing reprisals from the man who could be the difference between landing a top player and not. That was one of the reasons so many club officials were frustrated by him; that for so long he was judge, jury and executioner, with no appeal available. ''Ian Schubert interprets it the way he sees it and you can't challenge him,'' one club boss told Fairfax Media in February. ''The way he operates is that he has got sole discretion, so bad luck.''
That unwillingness to speak on the record about Schubert continued on Wednesday, after the auditor announced he would be stepping down. ''It will be good to start afresh,'' one club official said.
Schubert was a player of note with Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs and Manly, but his influence over the code was more significant after he finished playing.
Given the role of managing the salary cap to curb the unsustainable player payments brought about by the Super League war, he has been credited by many with evening out the competition.
But there have been many controversies: in recent years, the biggest have been his bullishness over Greg Inglis (Inglis believed the NRL did not want him in the game after he was forced out of Melbourne, had a contract with Brisbane rejected and was left in limbo for months after a ruling on third-party deals put South Sydney over the salary cap); and his failure to budge in time to allow Israel Folau, who had quit his AFL adventure, to sign with Parramatta. Folau subsequently signed - and then re-signed - with the ARU.
Through it all, Schubert made about as many public utterances as his detractors did about him. He steadfastly refused to discuss rulings with reporters. But he did speak on Wednesday, even if via a statement from the NRL.
''I've had a memorable time in the game,'' he said. ''Naturally, those times as a player are hard to beat, but the rewards of being an administrator where your contribution is not always noticed, or appreciated, is both rewarding and challenging. I have been fortunate to play alongside and against some of the greats of the game during my time as a player, and over the past 18 years to also work closely with some very passionate people who may not have played but certainly have the same passion for the game as any player.''