Just weeks after his coach touted him as having the potential to be Tasmania's best midfielder, Jake Hinds is preparing to captain Launceston.
The 21-year-old will skipper the opening eight games of the Blues' premiership defence as Jobi Harper completes a 16-week firefighting certificate.
He will become the club's youngest captain in recent memory when Launceston takes to UTAS Stadium for Good Friday's round one derby against North Launceston.
RELATED: Hinds to cover firefighter Harper
"It's very exciting and I'm very thankful for the opportunity," Hinds said.
"This year especially I feel like I've been improving my leadership on and off the field, just trying to do all the little things.
"I've been here for a few years now so I'm just trying to help all the younger guys.
"I know how daunting it can be when you're coming up through the ranks, so I'm trying to help them out as much as I can and bring them some knowledge while still feeding off the older guys as well."
A 50-gamer when he left for the NEAFL at the end of 2018, Hinds spent a season with Southport before returning to play every game of the Blues' premiership campaign.
He was "in and out" of the Sharks' side, but came back a better player.
"It was a good experience, I definitely learned a lot," he said.
"Just opening my eyes to seeing how other clubs and other players go about things was definitely a good experience and something I'm very happy I did."
Hinds won't have to look far for advice on captaincy.
Harper will remain accessible at training and on gamedays while another ex-Launceston skipper, Lilydale forward Sonny Whiting, is taking Hinds through a building apprenticeship.
MORE FOOTBALL: Gutwein makes headway with AFL timeline
Last year's grand final - one of the best TSL deciders since the league reformed - has also armed the former Exeter High student and Tamar Cats junior with invaluable experience.
"It was unreal - something I'd always wanted to do was play in a senior grand final.
"As a group we're all very tight and [coach Mitch Thorp] has supported us all individually and as a group.
"[This year] the feel's been good but we're not getting ahead of ourselves, we're still head down bum up - we've still got a lot to do."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.