FORMER Horsham and Melbourne Demons footballer Andrew Johns has been appointed assistant coach of South Australian National Football League side Glenelg.
Johns - who played junior football with Horsham Demons, Essendon's under-19s and reserves and won two premierships with North Ballarat - originally planned to play for the Tigers in 1988 before being drafted to Melbourne.
He made his SANFL debut with Sturt in 1990, playing 120 games with the Double Blues.
After hanging up his boots, Johns - who won a Toohey Medal in his one year of senior football with Horsham in 1987 and best and fairests with Sturt in 1990 and 1993 - turned to coaching.
"I started coaching in local leagues and also spent two to three years at North Adelaide coaching juniors," he said.
Johns coached Happy Valley to Southern Football League premierships in 1998 and 1999 and spent from 1998 to 2005 as a recruiter for AFL side Brisbane Lions.
He was also assistant coach of SANFL side West Adelaide in 2007 before taking a hiatus from football to focus on his business Blade Runner Distributors.
New Glenelg coach and former Port Adelaide and Carlton footballer Nick Stevens approached Johns about returning to coaching last year through a mutual friend, ex-Carlton premiership player Peter Francis, who coached Johns at Box Hill in 1989.
Johns accepted the position - which includes looking after the backline - and hasn't looked back.
"It's been terrific," he said.
"There's a couple of Horsham boys over here at the moment - Riley McFarlane and Chris Curran.
"They're both training the house - down they're doing very well."
Johns said Glenelg had experienced a raft of changes in the off-season as it attempted to go from wooden-spooner to finals contender.
"There's a new chief executive, new coaching staff and they've recruited very well," he said.
"I'd like to see them become a more competitive unit."
The Tigers have welcomed ex-Richmond and Essendon on-baller Sam Lonergan, former Carlton midfielder Aaron Joseph and Tasmanian forward Mitch Thorp, who spent three years on Hawthorn's list.
"The players are as fit as they've ever been, according to past records," Johns said.
"Now it's a case of getting them out on the field and seeing how they go.
Johns said the competition was set to be even tougher this season with the inclusion of Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide reserves teams.
"It means the other teams have to increase their fitness and improve their game plans in order to keep up," he said.
"The players spend an enormous amount of time training they train five nights a week, play games on Saturdays and have recovery on Sundays.
"It's a massive commitment."
Glenelg will kick off its SANFL season on April 4, with the Tigers set to host Johns' former side Sturt