After a 105-game, 132-goal AFL career, Josh Green is eager to give back to the club that gave him his start.
Green, the marquee recruit heading into the 2020 Bupa Tasmanian State League season, will undertake a playing assistant coach role at Clarence, with his experience and passion both on and off the field set to be crucial to the club’s development.
Taken with pick 32 in the 2010 National Draft, Green carved out a strong career at the elite level, playing 81 games for 107 goals at the Brisbane Lions and a further 24 games for 25 goals as an Essendon Bomber before finishing up at the end of the 2018 season.
The 27-year-old, who played a crucial role in Clarence’s 2009 and 2010 TSL premierships and captained the state’s U18 side in 2010, insists the timing is right for him to rejoin his junior club, 12 months on from the end of his career at the elite level.
“It was easy to decide to come to Clarence, but I did toss and turn for a bit about whether it was the right time to come home. I thought about coming home last year but decided I wanted to stay in Victoria for a little bit,” he said.
“Things just fell into place and I’m ready to get into coaching now and it worked really well to be an assistant coach in 2020.
“I was always going to come back and finish my career at Clarence, and right now the timing is right. I want to learn as much as I can and want to give back to the club that gave me so much and that gave me a chance.”
Green spent the 2019 season in Victoria, playing a crucial role in the University Blues’ Victorian Amateur Football Association Premiership.
Named in the Team of the Year, Green finished with 41 goals for the season (third overall) and two goals in the decider against St Kevins, with the competition boasting former AFL players Jarrad Waite, Ayce Cordy, Luke Russell Rohan Bewick, Kristian Jaksch and Cam O’Shea.
This flag triumph ensured Green returns to Tasmania on a positive note, with his extra year in Victoria also allowing him the chance to reflect on his time in the AFL system.
“It’s been a bit over a year now so I’ve had a good chance to let it sink in. Am i content? Probably not, but I’m pretty proud of what I did and to play at two great clubs.
“It was a great time full of great memories and great people and I’ve just got to be thankful for the time I spent in the AFL. Not everyone gets that opportunity, but now I can hopefully look forward to helping Clarence win another premiership.”
Green rejoins the ‘Roos at an interesting point, with Clarence missing out on finals football in 2019 for the first time since 2016, narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon on percentage.
Jeromey Webberley blooded plenty of young talent throughout the year, with teething pains likely to make way for success down the road.
Green found the opportunity to join the group at this stage of their development to be too good to pass up.
“That was probably the main attraction. We have a young and exciting list. When I was a younger player at Clarence I had experienced guys to learn from who then allowed me to loosen up and play through the midfield. Hopefully I can be that support to the young crop coming through.
“I will do whatever needs to be done, whether it is as a midfielder or forward.”
Green is optimistic about what Clarence can achieve, with the carrot of TSL success an alluring factor for his return.
“It’s been a a while since Clarence has won a flag, so hopefully we can work on building a really strong culture and getting Clarence back to where it belongs – playing and winning finals.
“I’m just looking to give back with coaching, playing and work in and around the club with academies, juniors and the women’s program.”
Webberley, who will work closely with Green as his coaching mentor and teammate, says Green’s return to the state is not only a boost for his side, but for the competition as a whole.
“We are rapt to have him back. Josh obviously had a really decorated AFL career so to get someone back straight out of the system is a really big recruit… he is going to add a lot both on and off the field.
“We have some good young mids and some talented small forwards, so Josh will be able to be a huge influence on them both as a teammate and as an assistant coach.
“It’s not all about his playing, it’s about investing in the Clarence community and setting up strong links with the junior club.”
Green joins the likes of Marcus Davies, Coin Garland, Jacob Gillbee, Sam Siggins and Kieran Lovell as former AFL players in the Bupa TSL.
“Having these guys back in the state is really exciting for the competition. The product is good, the competition is young but teams play a solid brand of footy.”