After 12 months out of football, new Calder Cannons regional coaching director Ross Smith decided he wanted to get back into the game.

Smith stepped away from football after 30 years’ involvement which included 224 games as an AFL player and 17 years as a coach. He held assistant coaching roles at Geelong, North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Richmond.

Last week Smith was appointed as the Cannons’ first regional coaching director. The new full-time role includes coaching the Cannons’ boys TAC Cup side.

Smith said he would have a hands on approach with local clubs in the Cannons’ region. A big focus of the role is to try and improve the standard of junior coaching and provide better pathways.

Smith is no stranger to the north-west region – his sons play at Aberfeldie and he played his junior football at Jacana.

“The ability to develop football in the region was what really attracted me to the role,” he said.

“I’ll be working with junior footy clubs to look at the curriculum of what they are teaching.

“I’ll be working with clubs to provide a document [regional coaching strategy] of sorts. It’ll have training drills that we can give them access to and it’ll help with training coaches.

“Making the role full-time, it helps give the resources to help assist these clubs.”

Smith said about 30 per cent of his role would be focused on the Cannons and their program.

He said he would look to tap into his AFL experiences to help the whole Cannons program.

“We want to get some consistency across all the Cannons teams, the boys, girls, under-16s and under-15s.”

He said one of his biggest focuses would be ensuring the players who come out of the Cannons program are better people than when they entered it.

“We want them prepared for life.”

Cannons’ talent manager Ian Kyte said the new role would help strengthen the links between the Cannons and the community.

“Ross has experience at the elite level, and this will only benefit our players and coaches in the Calder region.

“With the expanded full-time role, our Calder coach will now be a vital resource for junior coaches in local competitions, providing them with further development and learning opportunities.”

Kyte thanked out going coach Andrew Johnston for his work over the past three years. The Cannons finished eighth in Johnston’s first two seasons, before missing finals this year.