FOR more than a decade, Jarrod Wade has been working his way up the totem pole at some of Australia's biggest sporting clubs.
Wade has been a part of many successes, from the Geelong Cats to head of high performance with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The boy from Horsham is set to return to his home state to take on a role with the Collingwood Magpies.
For Wade, the timing is just right.
"It's the nature of elite sport and people in my role that you don't necessarily end up staying at any one place for all time," he said.
"When the opportunity came up to come home, I jumped at it. I've still got a lot of family and friends in Horsham and around that area."
"It's a long way from Sydney, by the time you get a three and a half hour car ride to the airport, get on a plane and drive back to my house in Sydney; that's a full day of travel."
"It's going to be really, really good to get back and only be a little three and a half hour drive up the highway from them, obviously once lockdowns and all that kind of stuff settles down and we can do some travel between the two places."
One of the biggest drivers was his own family, Wade said.
"We've got a young family now, two kids and my wife's from Ballarat as well," he said.
"We're going to really have a really good support network back there trying to raise our young family, so they can hang out with their cousins back in Horsham and get to know their grandparents."
However, Wade said his family were happy in Sydney, and it wasn't until the right opportunity presented itself that they were prepared to move back.
"First and foremost, it was about the job and the fact that it was a really good opportunity to come home," he said.
Family has been an essential part of Wade's life from the beginning.
Growing up in a sporting family - Wade's uncle is Doug Wade, Geelong's goalkicking record holder - he knew he wanted to have a career in sport.
"It's always been a big sporting family, it was always something that I really wanted to chase and do," Wade said.
It's exciting to come home and exciting to be coming back to Victoria.Jarrod Wade
"I've worked in sport and I was just lucky enough to get some opportunities and do some study that allowed me to do it and rise up through the ranks and continue to be involved at a pretty high level."
Wade's first opportunity came as a part-time role with the Geelong Cats during the club's immensely successful 2007-11 period.
After spending five years at Geelong, stints at Essendon and - after switching to the NRL - Parramatta followed, before Wade landed at the Rabbitohs.
"I've held sort of a multitude of roles across the high-performance department," he said.
"I've been a sports scientist, rehab coach, weights coach. I've been a running coach.
"I've held almost every role there is to have within the department."
However, Wade said he enjoyed being part of a team more than individual accolades.
"It's never about me; I'm part of a big group of staff and we are part of a big club with a big group of players that are all trying to achieve the same thing," he said.
"It's just about playing your part and helping them achieve that; I like to see players get their best out of themselves and be the best version of themselves."
Wade said he hopes he can help Collingwood achieve some level of success.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to go to what is essentially one of the biggest clubs in Australian sport, with a new coach and try and build a program and a system that's going to lead to some success in the future," he said.
"It's exciting to come home and exciting to be coming back to Victoria."
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