SENIOR coach Mitch Hills has experienced the highs and lows that football can bring.
He can still remember the years his South Launceston team was struggling at or near the bottom of the ladder then to being the premiership captain of the Bulldogs last year.
This year he finds himself in a new role as coach of the State League's debutant club Western Storm and so far everything is falling into place for the 27-year-old.
He has guided the Storm into second place on the State League ladder, has the team in a semi-final of the Foxtel Cup in Western Australia next Tuesday and is one of six Storm players in the Tasmanian team to play the NEAFL at Bellerive on Saturday.
``It is all a busy and exciting time for us,'' he said.
The Western Storm consolidated second place on the State League ladder with a 144-point win over the Tigers at Kingston last Saturday and Hills was the star of the show.
He kicked four goals from centre half-forward and earned best afield votes in the RACT Insurance Player of the Year Award.
``It's rewarding to play in a team with good players and good support staff around you,'' he said.
For many seasons Hills has alternated between the ruck and a key forward position but is now finding himself more settled at centre half-forward with Bart McCulloch and Cody Thorp playing alongside him.
The Western Storm moved to within a game of top spot on the ladder after Clarence's surprise loss to Lauderdale and Hills said it had brought to an end a satisfying first half of the season.
``After the break we now face three tough games against Burnie at West Park and Clarence and North Launceston at Aurora Stadium,'' he said.
His immediate attention, though, is on Saturday's interstate game at Bellerive and then the trip to Perth early next week.
``It's going to be tough on our bodies but we're looking forward to it,''.
Hills said a touring party of 25 players would make the trip for the game against West Perth at Patersons Stadium next Tuesday.
The Western Storm qualified for the semi-final with a win over West Adelaide in April and Hills started planning for the game with a team meeting last night.