YOUNG AFL footballers learning about the game as part of the Northern NSW QBE Swans Academy will have plenty of experience to call on when talking with their new head coach.
John Paul College teacher Tim Davis knows a thing a two about having a long career at a high level.
The 37-year-old has a wealth of football experience having played plenty of senior football with South Australian clubs North Adelaide and Central District as well as spending time at the Crows after being picked up as Adelaide's first selection in the 1998 rookie draft.
Having played and trained under coaches such as Malcolm Blight and Alistair Clarkson, Davis wants to create a program that reduces the size of the jump between the local competition and the elite levels.
"My goal, particularly in a non-traditional AFL environment up here, is to try and create an environment that's hyper competitive for these kids where they're prepared to get drafted," Davis said.
"They're big fish in a small bowl up here and competing with the likes of the southern states where it's footy intense, we need to try and create a professional environment and to support the Swans to get the best out of our state."
Swans Academy Operations Manager Chris Smith said securing Davis is a major coup for the Academy.
"We're really excited that someone of Tim's calibre has decided to join us as the new coach of the Northern NSW Academy and build on the work the Academy has done in the area in the four years it's been running," Smith said.
"Tim has an enormous amount of experience, he's an outstanding teacher of young people and he comes from a rich AFL culture in Adelaide, so we believe he'll be a real asset for the Academy and for local kids aspiring to play at the elite level."
Davis and his family moved to the area from Melbourne almost three years ago and has since landed the role of head of school evangelisation at JPC.
"My wife and I moved up from Melbourne but she's a Queenslander so we wanted to be closer to family in Brisbane but we just love the Coffs Coast," he explained.
"We didn't really have work to come to, didn't have family in the area but we had always driven through here and thought we could always live here and raise a young family."
Davis said the Academy isn't just for junior players who show some promise in the local AFL competitions. He added talented athletes from any sporting background will be on the Swans Academy radar.
"Particularly indigenous kids. If we could pick up a Greg Inglis style player for the Swans it would be amazing," he said.
"Great physique, great ball skills and endurance. It would be great to tap into the indigenous population as well non-indigenous. Just kids that suit this game which is adaptable to so many different body types."