HE'S crossed a flag off his 'to do' list and boasts two best and fairest medals, but Lachlan Highfield is confident his best football is yet to come after signing with Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes for next season.
The 30-year-old inside midfielder is a huge addition to a Goanna side who were keen to add a bigger body to their engine room rotation.
Canberra-based Highfield will also take on an assistant coach role under head coach Jeremy Rowe, and has spent the past three years with Queanbeyan Tigers, where he was their best and fairest in their 2020 premiership campaign.
Before that he had three years at North Wagga, winning their best and fairest in 2017 and helping guide them to the 2019 Farrer League grand final, which they lost to Marrar.
Highfield took on greater leadership responsibility at Queanbeyan this year, something he believes he thrived on.
"I feel like I am (playing my best football). Having a leadership role with Queanbeyan has brought another level to my game I feel and I'm looking forward to bringing that to Mango," he said.
"I always wanted to play in the Riverina (League) and I'm playing pretty good footy at the moment. I feel like I've got some experience I can use to help Mango.
"I've played a lot of footy against (fellow Canberra-based Goannas players) Ryan Turnbull, Dom Bunyan and Nick Collins. I'm looking forward to playing with them."
Highfield said a chance to help the Goannas end their flag drought was another enticing factor.
"I won one last year at Queanbeyan and that was my first senior premiership. I think it's been 28 years since they've won one, so to be part of that would be huge," he said.
"Hopefully I can bring something to the team for next year and hopefully years to come.
Local player Trent Cohalan, who played his 250th senior game for the club this year, will also be an assistant coach alongside Highfield.
Goannas coach Jeremy Rowe said after he re-signed earlier this month a big-bodied midfielder was a major priority to bring to the club, and Highfield fits the bill.
But he said he will be just as valuable off the field as on.
"We had a local captain (Paddy Griffin) and travelling captain (Nick Collins) last year and it worked so well, it inspired us to think the same way in regards to our assistants," Rowe said.
"We'll have Trent who is already a second voice for myself, and we'll use Lachie's experience externally from our club to challenge the status quo, have a look at things and suggest things he thinks could be tweaked.
"He'll have a midfield focus (as assistant coach) but there'll be other parts of his role including doing some vision with the young midfielders and doing some work with our Canberra group."
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The Goannas are also looking for at least one 'tall' to help offset the loss of ruckman Sam De Sousa and centre half-forward George Kendall.
"Coming into this season a big bodied inside midfielder was a priority for us, as is bringing in at least one piece of height," he said.
"If someone who could hit the scoreboard regularly fell into our lap we'd look at that, but a big bodied midfielder was something we lacked.
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