TIM Mohr's journey to the AFL is a true example of how football has changed.
The 23-year-old Launceston premiership player will finally get a crack at the big time in that ``football heartland'' that is Greater Western Sydney.
Playing for a team called the Giants no less.
And to get the opportunity, he had to succeed in a competition that very much has its roots in the past, the Victorian Football League.
But that is AFL circa 2012.
As he prepared for a dream home-town return against Hawthorn on Saturday, Mohr told The Examiner that his whirlwind 12 months, including having Brendan Fevola as a teammate, winning Casey's best and fairest and finding himself with AFL legend Kevin Sheedy as his senior coach, was something he never expected.
``Pretty much last year I was just trying to get through the whole season uninjured,'' Mohr said.
``But I gave myself an opportunity to get to the Giants, and everything is going well there so far.''
Mohr has followed what is becoming the more familiar path of a mature age recruit, one that has been made more possible by the expansion clubs.
Despite being overlooked in five drafts, the Trevallyn product said that he never lost sight of his AFL dream.
``I might have just given up a little bit of hope a couple of years ago when I had shoulder problems, but last year when I was having a really good season I knew I was giving myself the opportunity to be noticed,'' Mohr said.
``I always thought I had the ability to make it.''
His VFL schedule, training four to five times a week while juggling work commitments, has prepared him for the rigours of AFL.
``I think my body's going to hold up pretty well after going through all that.''
Mohr, who spent four years in the VFL, won't just be making up the numbers at the AFL's newest club.
In a side full of veterans (such as Luke Power and Chad Cornes), younger AFL recruits (such as Tom Scully and Callan Ward) and the kids from last year's draft and 2010's prelistings, Mohr is viewed as a senior player even before he has kicked a ball in anger.
With co-captain Phil Davis, Mohr will be expected to help anchor a defence that is likely to come under plenty of attack.
``Obviously, the ball is going to come down there a fair bit, so it will give us an opportunity to get some touches,'' Mohr said.
``I've never been a player that's felt a lot of pressure, and that won't really affect me.
``But I reckon our backline is going to be a real strength of the club. We've got a lot of experience down there, with Lukey Power likely to spend a lot of time there, so I reckon our backline is going to pretty good this year.
``But as I'm an older player, I've got to make sure I help the younger blokes out.''
Mohr, who at 196 centimetres and 99 kilograms can play on both medium-sized and tall forwards, said he was likely to be in the last line of defence for the majority of the year, but could also be given license to create some run from the back-half.
Hoping to emulate the likes of Geelong premiership defender Harry Taylor, Mohr said the biggest challenge he had faced so far was learning to become more vocal on the field.
Mohr's Giants will be in Tasmania on Saturday taking on Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium in the second round of the NAB Cup.