TALL utility Justin Ellis has left Lavington.
In a late blow for the Panthers on the eve of the season, Ellis has opted to move back home to Hay after he was again struck down by stress-related problems in his foot.
He has decided to put his Ovens and Murray career on hold and is unsure whether he’ll play at all this year.
“With the way my body has been, I don’t think it’s up to the standard required for Ovens and Murray right now,” Ellis, 26, said.
“Lavi will always be my second home, though, and a return is never out of the question.
“I missed 10 weeks last year and just haven’t been able to get it right.
“I’m not really sure whether I’ll play yet.”
Lavington coach James Saker said the departure of Ellis was an undoubted blow for the Panthers.
“If he was up and going, we definitely saw him in our best 21 players,” Saker said.
“He’s come a long way.
“He’d been travelling really well over the pre-season but had another setback a few weeks ago.”
Meanwhile, Albury has regained premiership player Tom Yates from The Rock-Yerong Creek.
Nathan Matsinos has returned to the area and will play at former club North Albury this year.