East Wagga-Kooringal has landed the prized signing of experienced Leeton-Whitton ruck Mason Dryburgh.
The Hawks' sensational off-season recruitment drive continues to soar to new heights with the addition of the Crows premiership player.
Dryburgh, 30, has played 137 first grade games for Leeton-Whitton and won the club's best and fairest in 2022, before narrowly missing out on going back-to-back this year.
Dryburgh plans to move to Wagga early in the new year, to join his partner, and the Hawks were quick to swoop on the accomplished big man.
EWK have also welcomed back Turvey Park reserve grade best and fairest winner Zac Randal.
Dryburgh was pursued by a handful of clubs but the excitement building at Gumly Oval under new coach Jake Barrett made it hard to go past the Hawks.
"It is exciting, obviously they've recruited quite well so it looks like it should be a successful year by the looks, maybe, we'll see what happens," Dryburgh said.
"Not saying I was chasing (success) but moving to Wagga it was just a change of clubs basically. I definitely wasn't going to move to play for an RFL club (against Leeton-Whitton).
"I was onto Baz (Barrett) early and he talked it up pretty well, what they've got building there and to have the opportunity to play with him and under him was very exciting.
"They're recruited well so there's an opportunity there for some success hopefully."
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Dryburgh said it wasn't an easy decision to leave the Crows but his impending move to Wagga made the choice easier.
"It was tough. I'd made my mind up pretty early that if I moved to Wagga, I was going to seek a different football club over there. I didn't want to have to travel if I moved," he explained.
"It was (hard) in a way but on the other hand, it's a new opportunity for myself so I'm really excited.
"Obviously you judge it on wins and losses but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I'm really going to miss the opportunity to play there, I've got a lot of relationships there so I'll miss the opportunity to play with some good mates and good people."
After holding his own against some accomplished rucks in the Riverina League over the past decade, Dryburgh is looking forward to a fresh start at EWK.
"They've recruited quite well, getting two recent Jim Quinn Medallists is pretty impressive so they've done an unbelievable job on the recruitment side," he said.
"It's something different. I've been around for a little bit. I don't believe I was stale in that environment but it will be something new, something different, get to play against new towns, meet different players, different opposition. It's really interesting."
He also picks a good time to arrive in the Farrer League, with the competition shaping up to be the strongest edition in a number of years.
"I don't think it will be a drop in standard in that regard at all. They've recruited pretty well. I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Randal is also a valuable addition for the Hawks.
He played two senior games at Turvey Park in their premiership year this season. He won their reserve grade best and fairest off just 10 games after breaking his arm late in the year.
The signing of Dryburgh and Randal add to the additions of Barrett, Jerry Maslin, Dylan Morton, Luke Gerhard and Jeremy Piercy for the Hawks next year.
Dryburgh's departure also continues a tough off-season for the Crows, who have lost Darcey Cullen, Blake Ryan and Jaxon Ryan to the Ovens and Murray League without having announced any recruits yet.
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