GUN Wynyard midfielder Zac Smith has always wanted to try his hand at the Tasmanian State League but his loyalty to the Cats has stopped him - until now.
A deal struck with Burnie offers Smith the best of both worlds.
The 26-year-old will run out for his first of two matches with the Dockers this season in tomorrow's blockbuster against North Launceston at West Park.
Whether he likes it or not remains to be seen, but either way he gets to return to his beloved Cats in their inevitable finals campaign in a bid for back-to-back flags.
"I've always wanted to have a crack at it but leaving Wynyard for a year wasn't something that appealed to me," Smith said yesterday.
"This way I can actually get a taste of it, and if I don't like it I can go back, and if I do like it I can see where it takes me.
"I didn't give it a second thought at the start of the year, but then Proc (Burnie coach Clint Proctor) and Errol (Wynyard coach Errol Bourn) started talking, Errol sort of threw it my way, and I jumped at it."
Smith said he was feeling nervous ahead of his TSL debut, given the unknown of how big the step up in class will be.
The hard-nosed Cat has been one of the most consistent prime movers in the NWFL in recent seasons but knows the pace of tomorrow's contest will go up a notch or two.
"I'll soon find out in the first five minutes when the heat's on if I'm going to be found wanting," Smith said.
"But hopefully once I get a feel for it I can ease into it and after that it'll just be another game really."
Smith's inclusion is part of Burnie's plan to provide an improved pathway to the state's premier competition for players in local NWFL clubs.
Proctor said he was pleased the initiative had come to fruition after countless hours working behind the scenes with Wynyard's movers and shakers.
He said building relationships with NWFL clubs in the area was important.
"It's a great initiative from both clubs to try and promote local football and to give guys an opportunity," Proctor said.
"We want to create a pathway for those guys to play at the state level."
By JORDAN ABELL, The Advocate, May 21, 2015, 9:48 p.m.