The opportunity to get back into coaching has Mitch Sykes making the shock switch to Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes next year.
The Goannas have continued a busy couple of weeks with the signing of Sykes as a midfield coach.
Sykes coached Turvey Park in 2017 and has spent the last three seasons at his home club, where younger brother Jeremy is co-coach.
But an opportunity to pursue more coaching and link up with cricket teammate Jeremy Rowe at the Goannas proved too hard to resist for Sykes.
"Rowie offered me a good opportunity to take on a bit of a coaching role," Sykes said.
"I spent a lot of the summer with Rowie, where I pick his brain a fair bit and I know how professional he is. It's a good opportunity for me to learn some more and do something different."
Nick McCormack was MCUE's midfield coach this year but with the Riverina League representative likely to be a travelling player in 2020, the opportunity opened to bolster the role with Sykes.
The 32-year-old admitted forming part of the coaching line-up under Rowe at MCUE was the main reason for the move.
"Yeah definitely. After having a stint coaching at Turvey, I've spent the last couple of years trying to play and I probably haven't got that many years left, one or two maybe, depending if my body holds up," Sykes said.
"Obviously Jez is there at Turvey and I like to claim I taught him most of what he knows so I want to see things from a few other sides and Rowie is probably the best option. Just his professionalism, even from the interviews, he was very thorough, very professional and didn't miss a beat."
Sykes admitted it was a difficult decision to leave Turvey Park and join the Goannas.
"It was a really tough call," he said.
"I had to take into account my loyalty towards Turvey and my family at Turvey. It was a tough call but it will be a really good change.
"Mango has got a really exciting playing group. We played them in round one last year, and to go from there to fourth, they came a long way. A lot of them are only 20, 21, so they've had a couple of years in the system now, they've got some really good structure and I'm really excited about it."
Sykes spent time at Western Suburbs, Northern Bullants, Donvale and Lockhart before returning to Turvey Park as coach in 2017.
Injuries have restricted him to 12 first grade games over the past three seasons but Sykes says his body is in the best shape it has been for 'six or seven years'.
MCUE coach Jeremy Rowe is rapt to have Sykes on board and believes he will bring a specific skill set to the Goannas.
"It's not often that you get to have someone who's been a senior coach join your ranks and with Mitch coming on board to assist us with the midfield is going to be quite a big deal for our midfield group and our club in general," Rowe said.
"If you have a look at the levels that Mitch has played cricket and footy at in the earlier stages of his career... and the fact that he has had that coaching experience as a senior footballer, he brings a high sporting IQ to the table and that's going to benefit our group immensely."
Rowe is impressed in the condition Sykes is in and expects him to slot into either the midfield or backline.
"We've got no doubt whatsoever that Mitch has still got a lot to offer on the field," he said.
"He looks incredibly fit at the moment. He feels quite confident in his body, which is probably something he hasn't had for the last few years and we're looking forward to him playing an equally important on field role for us as well."