North Albury have signed young Leeton-Whitton defender Darcey Cullen for next season.
Originally from Broken Hill, Cullen has spent the past six years playing for the Crows whilst attending Yanco Agricultural High School.
The Hoppers are coming off a successful season which saw them just miss out on finals and Cullen said that he was looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Ovens & Murray League.
"Yes I am, I'm very excited to go down there and experience that level of footy," Cullen said.
"Not only just the footy but that place to live as well, because I've been in Broken Hill my whole life it's always been so far away from everything.
"So it's good to go somewhere where you are surrounded by all different places and I'm just really looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know the club and everything there.
"It's pretty exciting."
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The 18-year-old is a former member of the GWS Giants Academy and also had the opportunity to play a game for Norwood this season in the SANFL Under 18's competition.
Cullen said he was looking forward to testing himself at a higher standard and believed that the Hoppers would be able to help him develop his football.
"I'm really keen to jump into that level of footy," he said.
"I think it will be very good to test and also develop my skills and hopefully I'll become the best player I can possibly be."
The young defender had played 16 senior games over the past two seasons for the Crows after first playing for the club in under 13's in 2018.
Cullen admitted that it was a bit hard to leave the Crows but said that he was excited for the opportunity ahead.
"I've been there since 2018 and I've played the last two years in first grade," he said.
"I had my presentation night there a couple of weeks ago and I got around all the lads and said my goodbyes.
"It did hit a little bit deep and I thought it was a bit sad, but I was prepared to leave and they were all very supportive of it all which made it easier for me which was good."
Mick Minogue is part of the Hoppers' recruitment group and he said that North Albury were excited to have Cullen join the club for next season.
"He brings a bit of unknown really because he's had a fairly interrupted season," Minogue said.
"He's a great size and from what we've seen and the reports we've been given he's got a great skill set and he's hard at the footy and very athletic and he's really going to add to the list.
"When we were playing against the top three or four teams most of the time we got physically out muscled or knocked around.
"We were competitive for small periods of quarters but once they took over with their bigger bodies we struggled to stay with them.
"We think that Darcey can add to our competitiveness by being able to provide that bigger body and that more of a contest for us.
"We also see a heap of upside in Darcey to get him into our program and develop him and provide him the support he needs to really take his footy somewhere.
"I think deep down he's got aspirations to try and get to an even higher level than the Ovens & Murray and we are fully supportive."
Cullen spent time through the midfield as well as down back and up forward for the Crows this past season and Minogue said that where he'd line up in the Hoppers' side would be decided at a later date.
"He's played a fair bit of his footy in defence but he's also played the odd game in the midfield," he said.
"Tim (Broomhead) is very open with the whole list as far as he pretty much declares the board vacant and says lets see how you go during the pre-season and during the practice matches and see where you can get to.
"Specifically we are trying to bulk up our defence but we also need some bigger bodies in the midfield.
"So if Darcey's pre-season developed that way I'm sure Tim will be keen to give him a run in the midfield and see how he goes from there."
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