MCUE welcome Wagga Tigers' defender Nick McCormack but lose Nathan Byrne

The desire to play alongside his brother Alex has caused representative defender Nick McCormack to make the switch to Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes (MCUE).

FAMILY AFFAIR: Alex McCormack (left) welcomes younger brother Nick to Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes on Thursday. Picture: Les Smith

FAMILY AFFAIR: Alex McCormack (left) welcomes younger brother Nick to Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes on Thursday. Picture: Les Smith

McCormack has made the move to the Goannas from rivals Wagga Tigers, just over 12 months after playing in their Riverina League premiership.

McCormack is one inclusion among some notable departures at MCUE, headed by best and fairest winner Nathan Byrne.

Byrne has decided to return to Melbourne-based club Avondale after one season at the Goannas.

With the losses to leave some big holes, MCUE coach Travis Cohalan is thrilled to have secured an emerging talent in McCormack.

“Having a lot of involvement with Alex for a number of years and working closely with him, I know the family really well and they are a really good family,” Cohalan said.

“Alex is a really good young man and I’ve had a bit to do with Nick and I’ve got exactly the same opinion of him.

“He’s got a good character, he’s got leadership skills, he’s mature beyond his age and he can play footy too. I think he’s underrated. His leadership already at training has been very impressive.”

McCormack, 20, played in Tigers 2016 premiership and this season made his senior representative debut.

He said the time was right to play alongside his brother.

“It was purely because I wanted to play with Alex, really,” McCormack said.

“I’ve always wanted to do that and have only managed to play a couple of junior games together at Ungarie.

“I love Wagga Tigers and that I got to win a first grade flag with my best mates.”

Cohalan plans to use McCormack in a different role.

“I know for a fact that he’s a very good defender but we’ll use him as a forward, midfield option. I don’t have him pigeon holed as a defender and we’ll look to use him up the ground,” Cohalan said.

Cohalan said the club was disappointed to lose Byrne.

“He’s a massive loss. He’s probably one of the best blokes I’ve ever met in my life and he’s one of the best footballers I’ve seen around here in a long time,” Cohalan said.

“He’ll be sorely missed on and off the field. He won our best and fairest and if there was a best and fairest for the best bloke then he would have won that too.”

Byrne’s travelling companions Jordan Foster and Dylan de Britt are also unlikely to play next season.

Foster will miss 12 months due to a knee reconstruction, while de Britt will make a decision on his plans next year.

Will Keogh (Melbourne) and Zach Walgers (Marrar) have also moved on and Cohalan wished both all the best.