Q: WHAT DRIVES YOU AS A COACH AND PLAYER?
A: I suppose as a coach it was initially taking a group that had been struggling and succeed.
Obviously over two years we've gone from the bottom of the ladder to finishing as minor premiers and that challenge was my main driving force taking on the South job and working with a young and inexperienced group rather than going to a more successful club.
As a player I'm extremely competitive and really just love AFL football and the competitive side of the game.
Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A COACH?
A: I'm a hard taskmaster but I am always learning and continuing to get better as a coach only being 24. I'm a bit of a student of the game and tactically I like to learn a lot about how things are happening at AFL level and try and implement that where possible down here.
A good coach listens to other people who have done it before and I have spoken to a lot of people around Australia and listened to what really works and on the mentoring side of things I think I'm a good mentor to the young guys around the club.
Q: WHAT DO YOU PUT SOUTH'S IMPROVEMENT DOWN TO THIS SEASON?
A: Our group is so close and the strong friendships we have within the group is a significant reason why we've improved. We spend a lot of time together away from football and a lot of our training over summer was at camps away together and we're very tight and care about each other.
Q: HOW MUCH TIME GOES INTO PLANNING FOR A GRAND FINAL?
A: I'm a full-time coach and we've spent a lot of time planning for each game this season and this one is no different. We've played Burnie three times so we know a bit about them and we've got all the vision from those games so we know what we've done well and what we haven't done so well. We've watched them play Launceston and Clarence and a lot of hours and thinking time goes into watching games and then planning how you are going to go about winning on the day.
Q: WHAT WOULD WINNING A PREMIERSHIP MEAN TO YOU?
A: Definitely reward for effort because we've all trained really hard and back up each weekend to get to this point and we're in a position now that if we do win it would be a very good reward for a lot of time and energy spent away from family. We play footy for a team game and there is nothing better than playing with your friends so to share that with your close friends and obviously I've got two brothers and family would be a special moment in your sporting life.
Q: DO YOU FEEL UNDER PRESSURE TO PERFORM ONFIELD AS COACH?
A: Absolutely, I think that is why I have played OK this season because you have no other option - you have to play well if you are the coach of a senior side. I think the pressure is a good thing because when you are the playing coach you need to lead by example.
Q: IS THERE ANY SADNESS ABOUT THE PLAYING GROUP PARTING COMPANY WITH THE CLUB AT THE END OF SEASON?
A: I don't know if sadness is the right word - I think it is a strange feeling because I know these guys are going to stay together and potentially I will coach them again but just under a different banner. It is disappointing because I know we all wanted to stay at South in the TSL but that has been taken away from us a long time ago so we've moved on. We're really pleased the club is going back to the NTFA and if we do win it gives it a moment to reflect that we did win a State League premiership and who knows what happens in the future.
Q: DO YOU ENTERTAIN THOUGHTS OF LOSING?
A: Yes absolutely, but I think that is a good thing because it puts pressure on me to coach and play well. I am certainly not a person who thinks we are going to win no matter what and gets ahead of myself.
It pulls me back in to get every little detail right. I think that results in me wanting to play well each week individually and as a team - the doubt and the nerves don't let you play poorly.
Q: HOW HAS YOUR FOOTBALL JOURNEY CHANGED YOU?
A: I think the best word is matured - I've got a lot of guys my own age that I have to give advice to and I've had a bit more life experience than most of them living out of home and in Melbourne for five years. The high of being drafted was surreal but I was impatient.
I got drafted to a club that had two outstanding forwards in Roughead and Franklin and didn't make the most of my opportunities. Being delisted gave me a chance to straighten up and enjoy playing footy again and it was a great learning experience. I think I'm enthusiastic and I love football and coaching. I'm quite shy and reserved off the field but onfield as a coach and leader you have to impose yourself on games.
Q: IF YOU ARE IN FRONT AT THE FINAL SIREN WHAT WILL BE THE MAIN EMOTION?
A: I think I will be quite calm rather than excited and over the top - probably relieved in many ways because we have put a lot of time and effort into it. If we lose I will take it on the chin and treat it as a learning experience and pick the guys up after the game and enjoy the next couple of days because win or lose we've had a pretty incredible season. I think the beauty of our group is that we are not scared of losing."