Lachie Highfield’s hopes of helping North Wagga to premiership glory will remain unfulfilled after the Saints star confirmed he won’t be back in 2019.
The Canberra-based Highfield has travelled across to play in the Farrer League for the past three seasons, culminating in his first appearance in a senior grand final this year.
That ended in disappointment against Marrar but he won’t be back to see the Saints try to end their drought again next year.
“Unfortunately it hasn’t been the fairytale ending like I wanted it to be, but that’s footy,” Highfield said.
“I’d love to keep playing in Wagga but the travel was just a bit too much.”
Highfield almost called time on his North Wagga chapter 12 months ago but a sense of unfinished business brought him back.
However, he said running his own business meant it was just too hard to commit to a fourth season.
But three years at North Wagga means McPherson Oval is like a second home.
“It did feel like family. They’re an aweseome club, one of the best clubs I’ve been to,” he said.
“I made a lot of lifelong friends there and I’ll definitely be following how they go and getting down there to see the boys. It’s not just footy anymore, I’ve got some really close friends there and it’s just unfortunate that I can’t go around again.”
The midfielder-forward was originally thinking of taking 12 months off football but will now link up with Queanbeyan, where he’s been doing his midweek training and where his business is based.
“I was going to have a year off and concentrate on work but I think I’ll miss it too much,” Highfield said.
He said he’s come to terms with the two-goal loss to Marrar in the grand final.
“It was just the way it panned out,” he said. “It probably hurts more being beaten in a close game than being pumped by 100 points. But that’s footy. They were the better side on the day and we were chasing our tail for most of the day.”
North Wagga are hoping to keep their off-season losses to a minimum, re-signing the majority of their players for next year.