Experienced Greater Northern Raiders wicket-keeper Alistair Taylor said helping generate future state players more than makes up for an absence from his beloved Lions.
As the Launceston team he helped to last season's Cricket North and Greater Northern Cup double were taking on Mowbray at Invermay Park on Saturday, Taylor was a hefty six away at UTAS Stadium where he is a key component in the project to help talented Northern players step up to to the Tigers program.
The 26-year-old admitted to some split loyalties but said the rewards are worth it for players like him and former BBL all-rounder Evan Gulbis as mentors in the Raiders set-up.
"Producing state cricketers, that's the goal of the Raiders," he said. "And if we're producing state cricketers I think we will be at the pointy end of the season. I don't play to lose, I want to win every game. Evan is the same. We're competitive beasts us older boys and we'll try and drag the young blokes on to a couple of wins if we can.
"You do miss club cricket because I'm obviously very invested in Launceston, I'm still captain and coach at the club. They were playing on the other side of the stand (on Saturday) so you hear the shouts and you'd love to be out there with them.
"But I'm really enjoying Raiders this year. It was good to have a year off from the Raiders' program personally, I think it helped my cricket going back having fun with a couple of my best mates."
Taylor said having a changeroom full of players from assorted Northern teams leads to inevitable ribbing.
"I think all the boys go straight to their phone after our debrief and look at the scores to see who's won and who's lost and normally there's a couple of boys whose teams are playing against each other so there's a bit of smack spoken between the boys.
"Spencer Hayes and I were going at it all day with him being a Mowbray boy and they got the chocolates, unfortunately for me.
"Being an older bloke who's been at the Lions for 10 years, it's hard to let go. These younger boys that have not played as much senior cricket for their home club so it's probably a little bit easier. But I've put in so much hard work to get to a certain point and then what we did last year you want to continue that on for the club but I'm really happy playing Raiders again."
Taylor said any number of young Raiders players could be set to step up to the state program.
"Flip a coin because there's a few of them. Alex Wynwood's obviously going really well at the minute, Sam O'Mahony is about to explode so I'd watch out for him in this T20 stuff, Cooper Anthes is batting really well and Will Bennett once he gets a bit more opportunity with the ball I think he's going to show how good he is."
Cricket Tasmania Premier League takes a break from red-ball cricket with a series of Twenty20 fixtures leading into the BBL season, beginning with nine on Saturday.
Coach Tim Coyle said the Raiders hope to have Hurricanes' BBL star Tim David but not until a double-header on December 18.