DELORAINE has scored a major coaching coup by securing the services of South Launceston premiership defender Rory Mansell in a playing coach role.
For 27-year-old Mansell, a linchpin of the Bulldogs' backline that took out this year's State League premiership, the move into senior coaching is a natural progression.
``I started out many years ago now coaching the under-16s at Longford, and progressed to an assistant coach at NTFA level at Rocherlea, before being an assistant coach at South under Mitch [Thorp],'' he said.
``When the opportunity arose at Deloraine I saw it as a chance to get back to the grassroots. There hasn't been a lot of success there, so it will be a really good opportunity so start with a fresh slate without any real pressure.''
While excited about the chance to be a senior coach, Mansell, who has played more than 150 senior games, said it was hard to leave his premiership teammates, the bulk of whom have indicated that they will join AFL Tasmania's new franchise at Prospect.
``It was decision that I tossed and turned over, as I was close last year about thinking about going and coaching,'' he said.
``Even though we didn't make finals in 2012, we didn't think we were that far off and decided to have a crack at it, and obviously winning a premiership I hold South and those players dear to my heart.
``But I'm at the point of my career just playing won't keep that fire burning. I was searching for that little bit more and the coaching responsibility is that.''
The club has already landed a host of recruits, including Marcus Lee, Ben Killalea, Dylan Visser, Will Von Stieglitz and James Whitely, who all played in a school premiership this season with St Pat's.
Deloraine president Shaun Donoghue said the recruits would add quality to a list that sees him confident the club could move it up the ladder.
``We really wanted a playing coach and Rory will be magnificent for us,'' Donoghue said.
``We know he is great with the kids and that's why we wanted him. There is already a lot of excitement in the town now he is here.''
Deloraine won just three games to finish second last on the NTFA ladder.