HIGH above the ground and on the bench each week is the team co-ordinating the moves for North Ballarat Rebels.
This is coaching with a slightly different twist.
Player development is top priority, rather than wins on the board, but with development the results start to show.
The Rebels claimed the minor premiership this TAC Cup under-18 season and will play for a grand final spot in tomorrow's prelim against Oakleigh Chargers in Melbourne.
"The boys are terrific at throwing their ideas forward and at the end of the day, if I make a call, they're happy to go with that too," Rebels head coach David Loader said.
Long-time friend and assistant coach Damian Ross said Loader had a unique style of addressing players and it was important to have a different tact than a coach might at a country football club.
Each player is striving to fulfil his potential in the nation's leading under-18 football competition.
"Most of these kids are sitting in classrooms all day, prescribed what they need to do, they're good at taking instruction but we need to allow them the chance to become men too," Ross said.
"They take more ownership and we've had a pretty good year."
Ross said each coach was also confident in voicing opinion or debate on and off the field.
It is the "back-seat" role, supporting the coach and formulating tactics that Ross likes best.
He joined the Rebels three years ago from the Redan coaching panel where, alongside the likes of Grant Polkinghorne, he helped engineer five of the Lions' six Ballarat Football League flags in the past decade (2002-03, 06-07 and 09).
Ross started as a runner under Lions coach Brett Quinlan and moved on to the match committee and coaching for playing coaches Kieran Murrihy and Brendan Peace.
He moved to the Rebels at the suggestion of Redan premiership player and Sebastopol Henderson medallist Glenn Wilkins, who was head coach in 2010.
"My job at Mars doesn't give me a lot of time but I like to be involved," Ross said.
"It's good fun. Footy's a problem-solving game.
"I like to make sure I'm consistently adding value to whoever is in charge ... that's with good quality discussion and good debate."
Midfield coach Shaun O'Loughlin also made the move to the Rebels from a successful coaching period in the BFL.
O'Loughlin served a five-year coaching apprenticeship under AFL legend John Northey at Ballarat, first as assistant, then as head coach with Northey as coaching director.
A teacher by trade, O'Loughlin said he moved to the Rebels to help take his coaching to the next level, eager to work with a group of young, driven players who were willing to learn.
"Working with John was the greatest thing I could have done ... John was the great motivator and with his experience, he knew how to hit the right note with players to perform while I was more tactical," O'Loughlin said.
"My passion is coaching and I'll try and do whatever job I'm given the best I can. It's about supporting the head coach in all the little things, for an assistant that's the most important job."
Loader worked through a lengthy apprenticeship with the Rebels and studied hard - including a level three in coaching and high performance sport and business management - before taking the top job in 2011.
Loader's coaching background stemmed from the mid-1990s when he stepped in to help SMW Rovers, then on the brink of collapse, and steered the club to a Mininera and District Football League premiership in 2003.
The experience gave Loader a taste of running a club, from fundraising to committee work, and he had a wonderful group of club people to learn with.
It was rival and former Tatyoon coach Chris Maple that lured Loader, after an extended coaching break, to the Rebels to be his assistant.
The rest rolled on from there.
Loader said the most important aspects were honesty and teamwork in his Rebels coaches and extended club staff.
"We're all working toward a common goal," Loader said.
"We're working hard this week to take another step in our 2012 journey."