Wagga Sloggers have swooped on accomplished Albury batsman Ash Borella to help lead their charge to the Regional Bash finals.
Borella has acceped an invitation to join the enemy after he was a surprise omission from the Border Bullets squad for this year's tournament.
Borella will join the Wagga squad as the Sloggers' marquee recruit and is a further boost after Ethan Bartlett's availability as a 'city of origin' player was confirmed earlier in the week.
The 29-year-old is looking forward to joining Wagga for the Twenty20 competition.
"I got overlooked from our rep side basically and I've played a lot of cricket with Joshy Thompson, through an under 19 Riverina side, and talking to him the opportunity came up to be the marquee player," Borella said.
"You always want to play the next level of cricket so I was happy to play for the Wagga association.
"I've played a lot of cricket with Josh (Thompson) and Brayden Ambler and those type of guys, so to be on their side this time, I'm looking forward to it."
Borella has been the leading run-scorer in the Albury-Wodonga competition four times in recent years and finished second last season.
He has often prove a headache for Wagga and smashed an unbeaten 61 off 37 balls in Albury's nine-wicket O'Farrell Cup win the last time the two teams met.
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Borella said he will have no issue playing against the Border Bullets and confirmed he was available for selection for his home association.
"I was definitely available. Obviously the coach wanted to go a different way and I wasn't apart of it," he said.
"To be part of the Wagga side, I'm not going to say no. It's another opportunity to play that next level."
Borella has forged a reputation as a big-hitting opening batsman on the border and will add more firepower to the Sloggers' top-order.
He is available for both weeks of the Regional Bash pool rounds, in Canberra and Albury, and is happy to play whatever role is required for the team.
"Basically down here I've opened my whole life but I'll play any role they want me to," he said.
"At the top with Joshy, Brayden, or even Ethan Bartlett, that would be good. To be involved with those type of blokes and play at that next level is invaluable."
The Sloggers have not progressed to the state finals of the Regional Bash competition since 2016-17 but will now enter this year's tournament with added confidence.
ACT Aces have proven too strong in the Thunder pool in recent times but Borella hopes to be part of a Wagga team that can turn the tables this year.
"That's the aim. Obviously ACT is the benchmark of the competition, being a city side, and there is three other country sides in there," he said.
"Any time you can get a good list together and try to knock off ACT, that's got to be the main aim. Only one bloke's got to get away and you take a couple of poles and it's right in our favour.
"I'm looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the chocolates in the end."
Sloggers coach Shaun Perry is delighted to have Borella on board, given the nightmares he has given the Wagga team over the past decade.
Wagga begin their Regional Bash campaign with a clash against ACT Aces in Canberra on December 5, before taking on the Bullets and Murrumbidgee Rangers at Lavington Sportsground on December 12.
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