Stawell Warriors Ash de Clifford's 2019 season has been "rewarding", juggling playing the game he loves while co-coaching the reserves team.
De Clifford has played a mixture of games in both the seniors and reserves and said during the season he has learnt how to switch his brain off from one game to the next.
"I find it a lot easier when I'm playing reserves when I'm playing in the team," he said.
"Initially I thought it would be more difficult to coach and play at the same time. I actually think I find it works better than being on the bench.
"You can communicate a lot easier when you are out on the field. I'm not a yeller, I'm not one to yell orders from the sidelines.
"When I'm out there I can run past someone and say something."
De Clifford said the other positive to playing while coaching was the feedback he received.
"It's good to get the feedback while you are already out on the ground," he said.
"This can come from what other players are picking up and seeing and the communication can run a lot better while you're out there.
"Having Shane Field in the role with me has been fantastic. He's a really good guide while we're out there and having the experience of Blair Hart helping us on the bench has put us in a really good position this season."
The mid-fielder has been awarded the opportunity to play in some senior games during the season.
"I think over the season I have managed my coaching role and senior playing role well," he said.
"It was tough at first. You have to start getting ready at three quarter time and your mind is still on the job in the reserves and the game which is going on at the time.
"I suppose it comes with the nature of being passionate. It can be difficult to switch off from one game and prepare for the next but as soon as the siren sounds on the reserves game I'm generally pretty right.
"It's a long slog, four hours of concentration. When things go bad you notice it, but when things go good - you don't mind at all."
De Clifford began his football career at the Warriors, making the move to Lake Wendouree after moving to Ballarat for school.
"I enjoyed my time in Ballarat but I came back to the Warriors for my last few years of junior football," he said.
"I went to University in Wagga Wagga so I played with the Wagga Tigers while I was up there.
"In 2016 I came back home for work. It was nice to come back and re-join my junior club."
De Clifford played his first senior game in 2016 for the Warriors and also took on a coaching role in the Friday night under-13 competition.
"Shane Field asked if I would be interested when they were looking around for someone," he said.
"I was happy to give it a good. I'd never coached before but I really enjoyed it, it was really rewarding.
"The following year I took on helping the Warriors under-14 side as the assistant coach."
Coaching the under-13 competition gave De Clifford "a taste" of life as a coach.
"I had a great bunch of kids which makes a big difference," he said.
"We won the flag that year so they were rapt - it was the first premiership I had ever been a part of.
"It was a great year. I was playing reserves football and we went on to win the premiership as well."
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