Ben Jeffery’s return to the border has been short lived with the triple Albury premiership star already on the move.
The former NRL player had agreed to head back to the Thunder in 2019 after two seasons coaching Kangaroos.
However an employment opportunity has seen a change of plans.
Instead Jeffery has linked with Group 20 club Darlington Point Coleambally.
Albury president Rick O’Connell explained it was going to be too hard for Jeffery to commit to their arrangement.
“He’s got a job in Griffith, we had a talk and it is just too hard in the middle of winter to make people drive three hours,” O’Connell said.
“It wasn’t going to work so we parted on amicable terms.”
Jeffery is no stranger to the competition, winning a premiership with Waratah Tigers in 2010 before linking with Albury.
He was part of the Griffith club’s premiership in 2010, playing alongside future State Of Origin star Andrew Fifita, but will not return to his junior club.
Instead he’s linked with the Roosters and will be the second former NRL player in the team playing alongside coach Ryan McGoldrick.
They’ve also shown interest in bringing former Parramatta cult figure Fui Fui Moi Moi to the club.
However the Roosters were tight lipped on that potential move.
Jeffery’s departure has created a change in plans for the Thunder as they look for a return to finals.
They haven’t finished in the top five since the last of their three premierships in 2014.
Jeffery failed to help the club to the finals in both seasons he was coach and last year they finished seventh in Adrian Purtell’s first year back on the border, which was plagued by narrow losses.
O’Connell admitted Jeffery will be a big loss.
“His experience and football nous will be missed and we’ve had to reshuffle some of our organisation,” he said.
Particularly in the halves with Shannon Rupapere also moving on.
The Thunder have been one of the busiest clubs throughout the Group Nine off-season.
Despite losing Jeffery, they’ve added English firebrand Brad Nicholson and Bombala workhorse Luke Ingram to their forward pack, who will be without Jon Huggett and Joe Sialafu in 2019.
Kiwi centre Sabastian Rapana has also linked with the club.
The Thunder are hoping to have another recruit locked in as early as next week.