By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
TAKING over the reigns of a club that has won the last two premierships generally creates a weight of pressure for the incumbent coach but Steve Jackson says that he isn't feeling one ounce of expectation resting on his shoulders at Sawtell.
The Saints have been on top of the AFL North Coast tree for the last two seasons and although Jackson would love the run of success to continue, he believes that there's bigger and better things that he would like to concentrate on.
"Winning isn't the main thing for me, it's more about having quality people and a quality environment," the 36 year-old said.
"If we've got some talent then we'll win some games but I'm sure my coaching career won't ever fall on whether we win a premiership or not, but I really want to know that we've had some fun and some quality people around the place."
A player with an enormous amount of playing experience under his belt in Northern Tasmania, Jackson will be a non-playing coach this season but he's learnt a few tricks of the coaching caper from some high profile names from the AFL. He's previously played under the tutelage of well-known top flight veterans such as Peter German and Peter Knights.
Despite the wealth of knowledge that he possesses, Jackson believes that that his coaching philosophy is a pretty simple one at the end of the day.
"Like most coaches it's all about doing the little things and then hopefully having the good skills to keep control of the ball," Jackson explained.
"Discipline I think is a crucial part. We're keen to be very disciplined, I think the competition here lacks a little bit of that. I'll really be hard on any of my players if they do anything wrong against the opposition, I don't mind us being hard but not any of the dirty stuff."
The talent down at Richardson Park looks like remaining at the club this year as Jackson says that a large majority of the premiership teams from the last two years have returned for pre-season training in 2007 over the course of the last month.
"Most of our players from last year are accounted for, we just need depth now," the new coach added.
"Whether that be half a dozen new senior players coming in or half a dozen seconds players, we've probably got 30 to 35 blokes so we just need another 10 to fill the seconds."