In flanker and captain Ardie Savea's injury-enforced absence, Coles has stepped back into the captaincy role – a role that has changed since he last performed in it with captains' challenges and appeals.
It was something he was putting some extra thought towards with coaching staff and team leaders. Challenges were a hot topic that should be used if they could, he said.
Having handed the captaincy on to Savea for 2021 was one of the reasons behind Coles feeling refreshed and prepared to sign for another two years.
“After the Super Rugby campaign I was at one of those stages in my life, I wasn't enjoying it, like any workplace when you've been doing it a few years. Then getting back into the All Blacks' environment gave me a real freshness and made me realise how much I love the game and how much I missed it.”
"Then, coming back here and the captaincy, giving to Ardie [Savea] has been a good refresher and weight off my shoulders, but able to still contribute and lead, and play as well.
"I did think about it [retiring], but I'm glad I stuck around and New Zealand Rugby and the 'Canes gave me a chance to stay in New Zealand," he said.
His family had been his priority in his decision and he felt New Zealand was a great place to live. He described himself as a 'home boy' who enjoyed living on the Kapiti Coast and playing for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks.
He was keen to play for the All Blacks through to 2023 but said he could live with the fact if he wasn't selected.
"There's still a burning desire, especially after 2019, I was left with a bit of a sour taste and that hurt so giving myself a chance to get back and give it one more crack kept me awake a night," he said.
Coach Jason Holland said the lack of pressure around player minutes and game time to meet All Blacks preparation requirements had been a bonus this year.
The national coaches had been good about letting the franchises get on with doing their thing. He said he was sure if there were any concerns head coach Ian Foster would be in touch.
The situation was helped by the fact that in Super Rugby Aotearoa each time only had four games in succession, although that would change with the trans-Tasman competition, he said.
Holland said with the conjecture around halfback TJ Perenara's future, his gut feeling was that Perenara still wanted to be an All Black and a Hurricane.