IT'S been a long time coming, but Steve Jolliffe is excited about coming back to where it all began after signing with Collingullie-Glenfield Park for next season.
After a stint with Wodonga Raiders, the 29-year-old felt the time was right to return home and his experience and presence is just what the Demons need to take the next step.
Midfielder-forward Jolliffe won two flags with the club when they were in the Farrer League, and returned to the Demons for the back end of 2017 when they went down to Leeton-Whitton in the grand final.
He also won the 2018 Azzi Medal as the Hume League's best and fairest playing for Howlong, and initially left Collingullie-Glenfield Park to play for Queanbeyan in 2010.
Jolliffe trained once a week with the Demons this year and is excited about adding to a young group which perhaps exceeded even internal expectations after finishing fifth.
His signing follows the announcement Nick Perryman will step up as co-coach alongside Brett Somerville next year.
"It was pretty inevitable really, it felt like the right time after moving back to the farm with the family," Jolliffe said.
"When I came back in 2017 I wasn't in the best of spots footy-wise, I had an injury early on and coming back I wanted to enjoy the game again and I enjoyed being back with the locals.
"It was always my intention to come back and play at some point, it was just a case of when I came back home."
Jolliffe said he has been impressed by the application of the young Demons list, who out-willed rivals at times in a strong finish to the year.
He believes the natural development of those players who were thrust into the hot seat earlier than expected, plus the addition of some class, will put them in a strong position.
"It's a really young group and to see them go so well this year, I didn't expect it and I don't think anyone out here expected it, to be honest," he said.
"But if you've got a young group that gets on really well, it goes a lot further than just having a talented group.
"Everyone gives 100 per cent and that's all you can ask for. If they carry that into next year and we recruit OK, we'll be in pretty good shape."
Jolliffe is unsure what role he will play, but is happy to slot in where needed.
"I'll probably play on-ball but I wouldn't mind playing a lot more up forward as well, just to get a few more years out of the body if I can," he said.
"But it probably depends on how we recruit, if we recruit OK I might be able to do that (play forward). How we're going in the season too (is a factor) and if we need on-ballers I'll play there, but it's good to have young blokes in there and I can sit back up forward."
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Somerville said the club was rapt to lure one of their own back home.
"He's done some training with us through the year and provided some good insights. He's a good player and has a good footy brain as well, we're very happy to get him back," Somerville said.
"It's one of our target areas, to fill our midfield and make sure we have that depth. He certainly does that and can play a role up forward too, which is great.
"We need to top up and we're speaking to a few guys, hopefully we'll make some decisions in the near future.
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