PREMIERSHIP player and former Wimmera league star Tyler Blake will return to the Horsham Demons as an assistant coach in 2021.
Blake joins former teammates Jordyn Burke and Rhona Conboy in the coaching department, as both Burke and Conboy have also re-signed for the 2021 season.
Blake has spent the last several years in Sydney, but moved back to the Wimmera in June to start raising a young family.
He said playing for the Demons would be one of the highlights of his return to the region.
"My partner and I just had a baby girl, so we wanted to move back closer to family and friends, to make things a bit easier," he said.
"Footy is definitely one of the things I was really looking forward to with the move back here, and resuming my footy at Horsham is definitely exciting."
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It will be Blake's first time stepping into a coaching role - an opportunity he said had always been in the back of his mind.
"Coaching is something I thought I'd like to do one day. I didn't really think I'd be doing it next year or even the year after, but when I got the offer, I thought it would be great to start coaching at my home club," he said.
"It's going to be great to learn from the experienced guys like Jordy Burke and (football manager) Tim Wade. Learning the ropes from those guys, but also bringing my own strategies to it.
"Every club I've played at I've taken something from, and I always thought I'd like to put that into practice one day.
"It's definitely exciting."
Blake, 26, said he would also have to bring a new outlook to the club as a leader.
"If you look at our playing group, I think it's still a pretty young list," he said.
"Sometimes I still feel like I'm still that 18-year-old kid looking up to Terry Arnel, Stuart Farr and the guys who won all those premierships years ago. But now I'm at the age where I'm looking to be a bit more of a leader.
"I'm really looking forward to it."
However, underpinning all of Blake's plans for next year was a simple hope that football would go ahead.
"It's hard to think about another year without footy," he said.
"It's not bad timing having just had a baby girl with my partner. That's kept me pretty busy during these isolated times.
"But I'm very keen to hopefully get back playing next year."
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