If there was a moment that catapulted Rocherlea into premier division flag favouritism, it was surely when Josh Ponting put pen to paper after six seasons at North Launceston.
A four-time TSL flag winner and a back-to-back Alastair Lynch Medallist, the state's best midfielder decided late last year on a return to the club where he won his first senior flag in 2013.
Since then, the 25-year-old has been setting the standard at training as the Suburban Tigers look to avenge last season's preliminary final loss to eventual premier Hillwood.
MORE FOOTBALL: Ponting signs for Rocherlea
"You have to expect different things when you come back to the NTFA - it's a little bit more of a relaxed environment compared to your State League, which is a little bit more serious with your travel and training and things like that," he said.
"But I've brought a few things back with me that I've tried to implement out on the track and the boys have taken it on board and hit the ground running.
"So I'm very impressed with the way the club's come along since I last left and the drive in the club is a lot bigger since previous years that I've been here.
"Your younger blokes and older blokes are all coming here to learn and get something different out of it."
Seventh in 2018, Rocherlea returned to its winning ways last season as Jacob Hawkins, Sam Maddern and young forward Brayden Claridge led from the front in a gutsy finals run.
The return of Zane Brown, Josh Holton and Ben Elmer and a desire to return to the grand final stage after a four-year absence makes the Suburban Tigers a frightening prospect in 2020.
"Pre-season has been great, the boys have hit the ground running," Ponting said.
"They got a bit of a taste of what it was like last year, making it to that prelim final and pushing Hillwood all the way but falling short.
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"It's left the boys hungry and ready to go and hopefully they can improve on that."
After six years at UTAS Stadium, Ponting is used to playing alongside some of the state's best players.
This year will be no different as the former Brooks High student prepares to share a changeroom with former Northern Bombers teammate Jordan Cousens and Brad Cox-Goodyer's older brother Andrew and younger brother Kaiden.
Ponting said he would relish being tagged each game knowing teammates around him would be freed up.
"I guess there'll probably be a little bit of outside noise on myself coming to the club, but anyone who knows me knows it's about the team I play in," Ponting said.
"If I'm getting a tag that means Cuzzo's running off the leash, if Cuzzo's getting tagged I get to run around free.
"It's a team game so I'm quite happy to cop a tag if the other boys can run free and get 30 a game and have a bit of fun, that's what we're here to do."
Originally scheduled to meet Scottsdale next weekend, Ponting will have to wait at least another nine weeks to make his return in black and gold following the NTFA's coronavirus ruling.
But a special arrival last month means Ponting will surely relish an extra two months of free Saturdays.
"I've become a father - my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter Mila, so that's a bit of a different thing that's kept me on my toes," he said.
"It's a change and a little bit less sleep, but other than that it's a really good experience and Mum and bub are going well which is good."