Dan Posch believes the key lessons he learned playing footy in Canberra set him up nicely to take the reins as head coach at Shellharbour.
Posch, who arrived at the Suns as a player last year, stepped into the mentoring role ahead of their 2023 AFL South Coast campaign following the departure of previous coach Craig Morrison.
It was an opportunity that Posch didn't expect, but it's one that he is relishing, with the chance to guide a predominately young list in a hybrid playing-coach role in this year's Men's Premier Division competition.
"It's been a good challenge, especially with a young and inexperienced list. It's a bit different to what I'm used to back in Canberra. But it's a great club, from the president to the committee and volunteers, make it a lot easier for me to show up and worry about coaching and playing," Posch said.
"I grew up in Canberra, lived there my whole life, and played for Belconnen Magpies for probably the last 17 or 18 or years before coming up here. It was a big change for me, because it was like a second home to me at the Magpies. And it's incredible how much I learned from the people that I played with or under. That's probably the reason that I've been able to step into a coaching role, from the lessons that I learned in Canberra.
"My wife is originally from the (South Coast) area, and she was pretty keen to come back. And timing seemed to work well with our daughter starting high school, so we thought it was time for a bit of a change."
It was a tough initiation to Posch's coaching tenure, with the Suns belted by AFL South Coast powerhouse the Bulldogs in round one. They bounced back to record a solid seven-goal victory over Kiama the following week, before falling to Northern Districts in a 10-point thriller last weekend.
The results mean Shellharbour has recorded one win and two losses after three rounds, but they have a chance to square the ledge when they face Wollongong Lions on Saturday.
"Round one was difficult, we actually had 25 players unavailable, which is rough any time of the season. But to start like that was not ideal, and to come up against such a strong unit in the Bulldogs - who are so well drilled - it was tough," Posch said.
"But since then, I think we've played some really good football the last two weeks. We had a really good win against Kiama and then unfortunately fell short last week with no bench in the end, so that could have been the difference in the end.
"But for us, it's all about development. It's about doing the team thing and drilling our game plan into everyone, and encouraging everyone to buy in. Once we're all working on the same page, we're only going to get better and better.
"We've got some cracking young kids who are going to be serious footballers, so it's about getting them up to speed as quick as possible."
In the other Men's Premier Division games on Saturday, the Tigers will take on the Power at Hollymount Park and the Kangaroos will host the Bulldogs in a grand final replay at Figtree Park.
The match will be part of the Saints' annual Kiss Goodbye to MS Round, with the Figtree Roos and Saints joining together to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.