DAN Cleary says his appointment as co-coach of Thurgoona is the realisation of a long-held ambition.
Cleary spent almost a decade at the kennel before crossing to Brock-Burrum last year to coach its reserves.
The 32-year-old coached the Bulldogs to the reserves flag in 2014 and also had the ultimate success with the Saints last year.
Cleary said he was thrilled to be given his first senior gig at his home club.
"It's exciting to be back at Thurgoona," Cleary said.
"I've spent a lot of time there previously and regard Thurgoona as my home club.
"It's where I learnt the most about football and the club gave me my first opportunity to coach both the reserves and thirds.
"I've aspired to coach at senior level for a fair while now.
"I coached Thurgoona reserves in 2014 and that sparked my desire to want to coach senior football in the future.
"I've also been involved in coaching the thirds in a number of roles since 2007."
IN OTHER NEWS
Cleary has been appointed as non-playing coach alongside triple premiership player Kade Brown.
He felt co-coaches was the best fit for Thurgoona as it looked to remain a league powerhouse.
Cleary is highly-regarded at the kennel for his smart football brain and tactical nous.
"You get the benefit of two voices," he said.
"Pup (Brown) will give that clear direction on the field, while I'll take care of most of the off-field.
"I'm the type of person who probably thinks about football and tactics more than most.
"That is one aspect of coaching that I've worked hardest on since I started at the lower level."
Thurgoona lost a host of premiership stars over the summer including Lucas Mellier, Mark Haydon, Aydan Brown, Jake Bruce and Charlie Williams.
Cleary said the appointment of Brown was crucial to the Bulldogs keeping the remainder of its list intact.
"Pup is really popular amongst the playing group," he said.
"I know with him taking on the role the club is confident it can keep the majority of the list.
"A few have obviously gone this year but his popularity can't be underestimated."
Cleary said both Brown and himself were keen to promote the junior talent within the club to help replace the losses.
"Our message to the playing group will be there's going to be a changing of the guard and we are going to develop the kids," he said.
"We have had a very successful side for a while.
"But the future is about the younger guys taking a bit more ownership.
"So it's up to Kade and myself to promote the kids and keep the junior talent at the club."