Coolamon's star signing Jake Barrett will have a high level, not to mention slightly surreal, warm-up for his Riverina League season, with a one-off appearance with Greater Western Sydney in the North East Australian Football League on Saturday.
In a coincidence, Barrett will play for the Giants reserves against the Brisbane Lions, the other football club to give him a shot at AFL level.
"It was a bit unexpected and it's definitely going to be an interesting one - I left the Giants to go to Brisbane and then I left Brisbane and came to Coolamon. now I'm going to Brisbane to play for GWS," Barrett told The Daily Advertiser amid flight delays holding him up at Sydney airport on Friday afternoon.
With the Hoppers' first game still two weeks away (they have a club bye this week followed by the general bye for Easter) Barrett leapt at the chance for a run in the NEAFL, once he talked it over with Coolamon.
"I just said I don't want to close any doors. I want to keep my foot in the door in case anything comes up down the track," Barrett said.
"I'm 100 percent committed to Coolamon once we're playing. I told the Giants I'm committed to Coolamon this year. But it will be good to tick the legs over this weekend given our season doesn't start til April 28.
"It'll be a good way to get ready for our first game."
Coolamon president Derek Owens said the club and coaching staff were happy to let Barrett top up at the club that gave him his AFL debut in 2015.
"I suppose my opinion is you can get injured doing anything in life," Owens said.
"He's got his own reasons why he wanted to go and have a run. It's just a one-off and we're not too worried. It's clear it's not going to happen during the regular season, so we're all on the same page.
"Hopefully he has a bit of fun, catches up with some mates and comes back in one piece."
Owens said they've been impressed by Barrett's professionalism and acknowledged that the 23-year-old is used to playing AFL pre-season football from about February.
"Everyone is just champing at the bit to get into the season and he's probably one of the main ones. It'll be good for him," Owens said. "He's one of those high energy guys and it'll probably do him the world of good to have a blowout and have him cherry ripe for our first game."
Barrett is named on the bench for the Giants' round two game, alongside a few ex-teammates including Narrandera's Matt Flynn, and against a few other ex-teammates at the Lions.
He expects to play up forward and is adjusting his mind to the change of leagues.
"It's definitely going to be interesting after playing a couple of trial matches down here," he said.
"NEAFL is still a good standard of footy and you've got to change the way you play again. They're all different styles.
"It should be a good day out and hopefully we get the win. I'm just keen to get out there and have a run."
The ability to call on a player straight out of the AFL system obviously appealed to GWS Giants NEAFL coach, and Osborne product, Adam Schneider.
"It'll be a reunion of sorts for Jake who's played for both the Giants and the Lions," Schneider said.
"It's great to have these relationships with players and clubs within our region and I think it provides some great opportunities for players in the Riverina to play at the highest level possible.
"Jake was a really popular player in his time at the club and we're all excited to see him pulling on the jumper again this weekend."
The Giants v Lions game is at 11am Saturday at Moreton Bay.
Coolamons' first game of the Riverina League season is at home to arch rivals Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong on Sunday April 28, in a blockbuster of senior and junior local derbies at a revamped Kindra Park.