Tumut's premiership defence has been dealt another blow with confirmation Michael Fenn won't be returning for another season.
After first linking with the club in 2020, Fenn returned this year and had another big impact on their forward pack.
However after travelling from Sydney's northern beaches to play in both seasons with the club, the time on the road was too much to take up again.
"It's too much travel and I can leave on a good note as well," Fenn said.
"If it was closer I would be playing but it just gets too hard."
A family connection drew Fenn to the club during the COVID impacted 2020 season and returning allowed him to spend more time with his grandfather Tony.
He also went one better after Tumut were beaten by Gundagai in the 2020 grand final.
"I loved it, it was a great year and I just enjoyed it so much," he said.
"I can't speak highly enough of it, I just wish it was closer as I'd be playing there the rest of my life.
"It was a great year and there's some great memories.
"Having pretty much the whole team from Tumut made it even more special. It was great."
Fenn has linked back up with North Sydney in the NSW Cup.
Confirmation of Fenn's departure adds to some quality talent leaving Tumut.
Former Weissel Medal winner Lachlan Bristow, best and fairest winner Jacob Sturt, former premiership-winning co-coach Adam Pearce, Tom Hickson and Robbie Byatt are all also not returning next season.
Coach Zac Masters, who has taken on the role solo after two seasons in partnership with Bristow, knows Fenn leaves a big hole in their forward pack.
"Obviously Fenny has been massive for us in the few years he has spent here," Masters said.
"Last year he was huge and on grand final day I thought he was one of if not best on the field and came up with some massive plays.
"He did that all year for us so he's a massive loss and a key slot to fill with the other losses we do have, which we knew were coming this year."
A team built on a strong local influence has been the framework of their most recent success.
However Tumut are looking to attract some new faces to the club but are yet to secure any new signings to help replace their long list of outs.
"It creates a big opportunity for the young boys in the club to come through and show their worth and try to cement one of those first grade spots, as there will be a few up for grabs," Masters said.
We really want to nurture our locals as country footy is based off local talent and especially with the points system they've brought you can't really go out and buy all your players to try and win a comp.
"If you don't have the local born and bred talent in your team the three or four players you are able to buy aren't going to win you a premiership.
"If you want to have sustained success you have to bring those young locals through.
"We're still on the hunt for players to fill a few spots but there's a cool opportunity for some of these young blokes in town."