Jake Ploenges says he grappled for weeks over his decision to leave Wagga City and return to Henwood Park, but says the Wanderers are still very well placed to take the next step.
The attacker has opted to return to the Hawks after one year with the National Premier League club, where he helped guide the under-20s to the Canberra title.
While the Wanderers are confident their main improvement will come from young players who excelled at under-20 and under-18 level this year, the acquisition of Ploenges is a huge boost for Henwood Park.
The Hawks were beaten in last year's preliminary final by Lake Albert and will take a new-look team into this year's campaign.
"It (Wanderers) was just a bit too much of a commitment for me this year," Ploenges said.
"I've got a lot of work going on and things going outside of soccer that are bigger than football. I just wanted to take a step back this year and play locally."
"It took me a few weeks thinking about it, but they (Wanderers) have got a very strong side coming into this year and best of luck to them.
"Not many people in Wagga can say they won an NPL title and it was an amazing experience having a lot of good mates in that team and one of your best mates (Liam Dedini) as a coach.
"They've got a lot of depth going through those young grades and to see them come through and play A grade is a big bonus for the Wanderers. There's a lot of quality there."
Like all players, Ploenges is unsure when the competition will be able to begin due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Community soccer has set its first checkpoint at April 14, but it is likely the wait will be far longer.
Under new coach Scott Elphick the Hawks have recruited a host of new players including young guns Domenic Ciampa, Ethan Piper and Damon Watson.
Piper, a 17-year-old from Queensland, is expected to given Henwood Park some punch up front after veteran Matt Menser's shift to the Wanderers.
"There's a lot of new faces that have come from outside of Wagga with very good potential. I reckon we'll have a really good year," he said.