North Launceston superstar Taylor Whitford has taken up a new role with AFL Tasmania following an illustrious TSL career.
The 28-year-old sat down with The Examiner to discuss his new job, the TSL and the Tassie Devils.
Will you line up for North Launceston in 2021? How can you see the team going?
I haven't said I'm [definitely] not playing - I haven't worried about it the last couple of months.
I don't know whether I'll be available to play so I haven't committed to playing - if there's free spots potentially, but I haven't been thought about that yet.
It's going to be different being in a different program and not being with the people you've helped develop over the last three years, but I'm really looking forward and excited for a new challenge.
I'm excited to see what the group can do without myself and Josh [Ponting] there, hopefully they can progress this year under Brad [Cox-Goodyer's] guidance.
It's just going to be different but I'm excited for that, I think I needed a different challenge and this'll be good.
MORE FOOTBALL: Whitford reveals next move
Will you miss playing?
It's something I haven't thought about yet - I probably will.
I've spent the last two months just worrying about what my coaching direction looks like in the coming years and it was probably just too good an opportunity to pass up with Cameron [Joyce].
He's had some bigger roles within AFL circles, he's been a recruiter, he's been a football operations manager, he's been an opposition scout, so he's done a lot I think I can pull bits out of to make me a better manger of people.
Hopefully I'll work closely with him and build a good relationship over the next 12 months.
Is this role a step towards coaching at AFL level?
I thought it was a good opportunity to get in the pathway in the AFL environment which is a good thing - I'm an employee of the AFL which makes it a lot easier to branch out and be involved in different programs and see different things.
And I'm still doing that coaching side of it as well - I get to run the Northern hub.
Coming from being a senior coach where you're running everything and then being assistant will be a challenge for me, but being able to run the Northern hub still gives me that chance to run my own structure with the structure Cam sets down South.
Is there a future for the TSL going forward?
From my point of view the TSL needs to continue for the state to have a viable option and pathway for players.
I think it was proven last time that it's very hard to run a successful VFL program with a local competition.
I understand the difficulty with travelling but for me it was never an issue - it's different for different people.
We travel to Hobart eight times a year but I just think the reward is greater - we've got better facilities, better standard of football, you're playing against the best footballers in the state each week - I just think for Tassie's football development you need to have a viable State League program.
The only thing that would stand in its way is the depth of talent that the TSL has - I think that's something that needs to be rectified in terms of keeping talent at clubs and not filtering the talent out to local clubs.
If you want the Devils and you want the TSL, you have to have the talent there as a state to have both - I hope the TSL is here to stay.
Would you have played VFL in 2021 if the Tassie Devils' re-entry went ahead as planned?
I would have liked to play - it would have been something new and it would have been that challenge.
I'm hoping it's something to come back - for me, I played four state games in my career and every time it was fantastic to play for Tassie.
It was one thing in my era that I didn't get the opportunity to play for the Devils week in, week out - I would definitely have liked that from hearing what Scott Stephens used to say about the program and how much he enjoyed his time within the program.
MORE SPORT: Supercars locked in for 2021 Tassie visit