K rock Football

Jase happy to take a back seat

Jason Davenport during his coaching stint at North Shore. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

JASON Davenport has ruled out taking on an official coaching role with North Shore ahead of his welcome return to the GFL club.

The former Port Adelaide and Geelong VFL forward, who coached the Seagulls from 2015-17 before taking on a development coaching role with AFL club Carlton, revealed last week he would be returning to Windsor Park.

However, he’s happy to sit back and just run out at 2pm every Saturday without the added pressure.

“The initial conversations have been around just being a player; it’s something I haven’t had the opportunity to do at the footy club,” Davenport said.

“I’m sure once the competition starts, I won’t be able to help myself, in regards to supporting the coaching staff.

“But the lifestyle that our family want, and the commitment that GFL footy has, especially from a coaching perspective, we just wanted to make sure there was still some flexibility there in and around resting every now and then and getting out of town.

“And also ticking the games over in supporting the playing group improving and getting back to where North Shore should be.”

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Davenport, who turns 35 early next month, hopes to play for at least two more seasons to play the 25 matches needed to reach 100 at North Shore.

“Physically, the challenge is to maintain a certain standard which the GFL requires,” he said.

“Mentally, having this year off will really help. I’m already looking forward to the challenge of playing at GFL level against these young up-and-coming players that are in the pursuit of what I once was.

“But also putting my mind to the task and utilising my knowledge of the game as much as my physical attributes because I might need it against some really quality opposition.”

While Davenport, who has two children aged under five, has shelved any coaching plans for the moment, he hasn’t completely ruled it out once his playing days are done.

“But, I’m also not in a mindset or a situation where we’re willing as a family to commit back doing that,” he said.

“It is a big commitment, and the club were unbelievably supportive of myself in my pursuit of cracking into the AFL and VFL system as a coach. I’m really grateful for that.

“But, for now, mentally, in particular, to step away from that direct coaching role, while staying stimulated through other areas of footy, and staying connected to the game, initially, my thought process would be just to play.

“Then we’ll see how things trend from there.”

The impacts of COVID-19 brought an end to his Davenport’s stint at Carlton after 2 1/2 years at Princes Park, and he concedes he’s not rushing to get back into the AFL system.

“I’ve got kids now and a lot our family lives overseas, and the flexibility of not being in the AFL system allows us some opportunities,” he said.

“Obviously amid the pandemic we can’t travel right now, but the thought of having some flexibility and freedom through the winter months in Victoria to get away, that excites us as a family because we haven’t experienced that for a long time.

“But, in saying that, I’m really passionate about coaching and really passionate about helping and supporting players becoming the best they can, and the avenues in which I do that are quite broad.

“I have a philosophy in place that I drive, and I stand for, so I’m definitely eager to assess options as time goes on.

“But the pursuit might be a little more different than it was 3-4 years ago.”

 

Twitter: @tom_king79