The Farrer League's leading goalkicker of 2019 won't be back next season, with Chris Ladhams' departure from East Wagga-Kooringal confirmed.
Ladhams, who turned 39 this week, has signed with his junior club, Gaza, in Adelaide.
"It was always 12 months with us," EWK coach Matt Hard said.
"We needed a forward last year and we were fortunate enough to get him. He held up his end of the bargain and did a very good job for us I think and we wish him all the best."
Ladhams kicked 68 goals in 16 games for the Hawks, including 9 in his club debut against Coleambally, and 10 in a mid-season game against The Rock-Yerong Creek.
His four-goal haul in a superb semi-final performance against North Wagga also went a long way towards getting EWK to the grand final, where he kicked three in the loss to the Saints.
Hard said they're not necessarily looking for a like-for-like replacement.
"It'd be great to get a goalkicker of his (Ladhams') stature but realistically that's unlikely to happen," Hard said.
"A few players we're talking to will benefit us but we haven't got them on paper yet."
Ladhams joins Ben Absolum as high-profile departures from Gumly, after the skipper elected to go back to Collingullie-Glenfield Park in the Riverina League.
"That was always a possibility, Ben had let us know beforehand. We're disappointed he's gone but he goes with our best wishes," Hard said.
But Hard believes the club is in a good position, having all three teams in grand finals, and winning reserve grade.
"We're pretty happy with our group and our young fellas but hope to bring in a few quality players," he said."
"The club's in a really good spot. We blooded a lot of players this year so we've got some depth and we're proud of our kids. There's a lot of talent there and that's the future of our club."
Many of their first grade side have recommitted, including midfielders Chris Gordon and Harry Fitzsimmons, key defenders Trent Garner and Nic Curran and the Tiernan brothers, Jacob and Max.
Ruckman Nick Hull is about to have an operation on a broken finger. After an injury-prone year and working away, the Hawks will give him time and space to consider his commitments before next year.
The disappointment of a grand final loss still hurts, with Hard saying the premiership ultimately came down to 10 to 15 minutes in the second quarter, when North Wagga skipped away.
But he remains proud of his team's late-season revival - with three powerful performances in a row to make the grand final and give it a real shake - after they looked on the rocks two weeks out from finals.