The Rock-Yerong Creek’s bid to return to finals this year will be that little bit harder following defender Aiden Ridley’s decision to leave the Magpies for a season in the Northern Riverina League.
Ridley is a Tullibigeal junior and has decided to join the Grasshoppers for their centenary celebrations as the club marks 100 years of Australian rules.
“I’m looking forward to it, I’ve always wanted to play senior footy out there,” Ridley said.
“I’ve never played seniors for them and it felt like now or never this year.
“I’ve been at The Rock for 10 years but thought I was due for a change. I might’ve been getting a bit stale. I’ll see how I go. It’ll be different but I’m excited.”
The reliable backman has been a mainstay at TRYC since joining the club a decade ago.
He has been a part of their 2011 and 2015 premierships, and was assistant coach to David Pieper in 2014 and 2015.
Ridley was appointed aptain last season only to have his year cruelled by a pre-season knee injury. He returned to play just eight games in the back half of the season but hopes that’s now behind him.
“It’s coming along good. I’m looking forward to playing after missing most of last year. I’ve just got to get fit,” he said.
“Before last year I might have missed about seven games in nine years so it was a bit of a long year. I had double the number of games missed due to injury in one year compared to nine years before that.”
Ridley said he’ll miss the Magpies and won’t rule out a return in 2020.
The premierships (against EWK in 2015 and Marrar in 2011) are the highlights of his time at the club, while the defender is also a club best-and-fairest winner and also had the honour of co-captaining the Farrer League representative team in 2016.
He’ll join a Tullibigeal team gunning for a fourth straight Northern Riverina League premiership after the Grasshoppers snared a hat-trick of titles last season with another grand final win against Lake Cargelligo.
Former TRYC players Kieran Fair and Andy Carey led the way – Fair with a best on ground effort and Carey with four last-quarter goals.
“I went and watched it. He hardly got a kick before the last quarter and then he just turned it on,” Ridley said.
“He might be going around again next year too.”
Ridley’s departure is a significant one for the Pies who also lose Derek Murray, Ben Farrell, Sam and Corey Lucas and Lachy Myers.
But they have brought some new faces in including former Coolamon veteran and ex-AFL player Ben Fixter, Cody and Jesse Cool from Collingullie-Glenfield Park, Jade Curtis (Northern Jets), Will Morley (Wagga Tigers), Leam Paton and Jordan Prestage (Turvey Park) and Brian and Michael Cummins (Narrandera).
The Magpies will kick off the season at home to the Northern Jets on April 6 before road trips to Coleambally and Marrar either side of Easter.