A year off the football field has proven beneficial for the long-term future of the East Coast Swans.
One of the sides who didn't opt in to the NTFA Shield competition, the Swans have taken the time off to amalgamate with their junior body - formerly the East Coast Giants - and become one club.
The move that will see players from Auskick right through to NTFA division one compete under the Swans banner didn't just happen overnight according to club president Stephen Walley.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"For the last two years, the two committees have been exploring possibilities and through last year, with the senior club not playing, it gave us plenty of time to do a pretty deep investigation into the various processes and models of where junior clubs had amalgamated with their senior body," he said.
"We also know that your junior pathway is essential to the long-term viability of your senior clubs and hence sits perfectly with the direction that the NTFA expects of their licensed clubs."
The club's committee spent last season working and meeting with Scottsdale and North Launceston to tap into their wisdom of whole-club governance and from there, developed their own model which was formalised at their annual general meeting in November.
And Walley says they are already reaping the benefits.
"We've got to a point where there's incredible goodwill and intention of working extremely well to make it work with great outcomes for everyone," he said.
"The junior teams and organisation will happen through a sub-committee that have representatives on the general committee but already we are experiencing where a number of the junior committee have taken on whole-of-club responsibilities so already we see some great gain about the sharing of expertise across the club."
Joining the NTJFA in 2013, four years before the Swans' senior side joined the NTFA, the East Coast Giants were formed to get the Coast's junior talent playing in age-appropriate competitions as they were previously a part of the NEFU under-16s.
Since then, the junior body has grown to three sides, an under-12 division two, under-16 division two (who were undefeated en route to the 2020 premiership) and an under-17 girls side, which resulted in a participation spike last year.
"We are extremely excited over what has evolved with the introduction of the under-17 girls and the interest that's been created right through to junior Auskick, that kind of exploded in numbers off the back of girls' interest," Walley said.
From a senior perspective, the East Coast Swans made the grand final in their inaugural season in the NTFA competition, falling to Lilydale in 2017 before going one better the following year - defeating Evandale by a goal at Windsor Park.
Their 2019 season saw them fall at the hands of St Pats in the preliminary final in what would be Ned Hyland's final year at the helm.