Mid North Coast local joins the team
AFL NSW/ACT Media Release
Wednesday, 25 May 2010
From the man-made beach in Japan’s Miyazaki to the seaside town of Port Macquarie, Paul Suggitt has come a long way in the past two months as he gets established in his new role as an AFL development officer on the mid-north coast.
After 15 years teaching English in a Japanese school, Suggitt has moved back to Australia and is living in Port Macquarie where he is excelling in his new role developing AFL from Kempsey all the way to Taree.
In his short time in the role Paul has already established key relationships with club personnel and has even umpired senior and junior games.
For Suggitt, the development officer position is his ideal position as it encapsulates his two passions in life – sport and teaching.
“Over the years as my teaching skills developed I learnt a lot of patience and I came to understand that I really enjoy helping people gain skills that they didn’t previously have and to help motivate them,” Suggit said.
“I used to spend a lot of time with my students, out of lesson time, surfing or hiking and I often brought kids down to Australia with me and took families overseas.
“So it was this idea of helping people push their own boundaries a little bit and helping them achieve challenges they set for themselves.”
Having grown up in Adelaide where he played AFL as a junior, Suggitt had to walk away from the game after undergoing a knee reconstruction.
It is here where the English-born Suggitt started running triathlons while he focused on his hobby of surfing.
After living in Japan, Suggitt decided it was best to move home after watching the Japanese economy slide and finding a desire to reconnect with Australia, something he wants to share with his wife.
Suggit said he can’t be happier with his decision and would love to see the north coast get its own AFL team in the future.
“There’s a lot of kids playing a lot of different sports up here and the message I get across to the kids is to have fun and to feel like they’re competing in a safe environment and also to realise the athleticism that is involved in AFL that it does have a very wide range of skills.”
“With the two new AFL teams coming in (Gold Coast and Team GWS) I think it’s a great opportunity for kids in NSW and the ACT that they can make different representative teams and push themselves at the next level.”
After 15 years maturing and developing as an individual in Japan, one of Suggitt’s tasks ahead is learning how to kick a Sherrin again.
“I am getting back into now, it is all coming back. The funny thing is, I was having trouble kicking the Auskick balls at first – they’re too small.”