Wagga Tigers have received an off-field boost ahead amidst their bid to make another grand final, announcing Shaun Flanigan will return to the club as an assistant coach next year.
A Tigers premiership player and best-on-ground in the 2016 win against Leeton-Whitton, Flanigan has had three years with Ovens and Murray League club Wodonga Bulldogs.
But he'll be back at Robertson Oval in 2020.
"It's good to be coming back. I thought about it last year but stayed (at Wodonga) for another year. But I thought it was the right time now," Flanigan said.
It was a lean season for the Bulldogs with just one win and a wooden spoon, and Flanigan was limited to four games due to injury. But the 26-year-old midfielder furthered his football education and has no regrets about the third season in Wodonga, even with Wagga Tigers' returning as a force in the Riverina League.
Flanigan is looking forward to taking on a leadership role at his junior club, where friends and family remain heavily involved.
"It's a bit of an honour to be offered that. I'm very excited. Mum and Dad are here and my girlfriend plays netball here and I've got a lot of mates here," he said.
Flanigan has been training with Tigers in recent weeks and hopes they can earn another grand final shot when they take on Coolamon on Sunday.
"I think they're going alright," he said.
"They just need to do what they've done the last couple of times, I guess, get that outside run, get on top of them and win that contested ball."
That's certainly the focus of Tigers coach Troy Maiden heading into Sunday's preliminary final at Robertson Oval.
"The focus for us to get right is to be really good at the contested ball and limit Coolamon's delivery into their forward line," Maiden said.
"They've got a a very dangerous forward line, with three tall targets down there and good small forwards.
"And their midfield is very, very good."
Tigers have beaten Coolamon in their two meetings this year but the Hoppers have Joe Redfern firing, averaging five goals a game in their last six outings. Matt McGowan (29 goals this year), Jake Barret (24 goals), Jerry Maslin (24 goals) and Braeden Glyde (15 goals)