COOLAMON'S midfield is shaping as one of the Riverina League benchmarks next season after Canberra ball magnet Shae Darcy agreed to terms.
Eastlake's 2019 best and fairest will join the likes of this year's joint Jim Quinn medallist Jeremy Maslin, and Riverina League player of the year Jake Barrett, in the Hoppers' engine room.
Jeremy Sykes' playing time was hampered by injury and illness, and he should be back to his best in his second year at Coolamon after making the shift from Turvey Park.
Darcy, 26, can also provide an option up forward and Coolamon co-coach Mark Carroll expects the former Demons vice captain to make a big impact.
"He'll slot very nicely into our midfield. You can't have enough guys who can play through there. He'll bring plenty to us on and off the field and will fit into our culture nicely.
"He's keen to experience some country hospitality I suppose, we're happy to have him on board.
"We had injuries as well last year) which hurt us. Sykesy was out for six or so weeks with a knee (injury), and then he came back and got that infection and he probably shouldn't have played again for the year.
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"He'll be a bit like a new recruit to be honest, so that's another quality player through there. We also lost Matt McGowan up forward so we played Maslin more of a permanent forward.
"We lost a few boys around the middle area but we'll probably have six or seven guys go through there."
Canberra has become a hotspot for recruitment in the Riverina and Farrer Leagues in recent years.
But AFL Riverina's move to slug clubs an extra point under the Player Points System to attract players from other leagues makes it more crucial to choose carefully.
"We're not going out to try and grab anyone willy nilly, we definitely want the right bloke and he'll fit into the culture and how we want to play," Carroll said.
"It's the main thing with us, the type of person he is and he's a ripping kid.
"We're pretty happy, we've got a great squad and we won't be grabbing anyone, but if the right one comes along for sure (we'll look at it)."
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