Click or flick across for more photos of Adam Prior during his time with the Hoppers.
ADAM Prior has been released from his contract at North Albury and will play for Lavington this year.
The Panthers and Hoppers reached an undisclosed agreement yesterday, with the reigning Doug Strang medallist free to join the premiership contender on a two-year deal he signed in February.
Prior, 27, had feared he would be spending the season on the sidelines after AFL Victoria Country recently ruled his existing contract with the Hoppers valid.
The star forward said he was relieved, more than anything, once the deal had been reached.
“I’m just glad it’s all over,” Prior said.
“It was getting pretty close, like last year, with the season only a week or so away.
“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing footy at Lavi.
“The club has worked pretty hard to get it done, which I’m grateful for.”
Prior has been training with Lavington throughout the clearance saga.
He becomes the second top-line key forward to join the Panthers since they lost last year’s preliminary final.
Former St Kilda player Justin Koschitzke has also signed with the Panthers.
In a further boost, the Panthers have retained another forward, Adam Flagg, after he considered quitting the club at the end of last season.
The former Greater Western Sydney youngster has been training strongly since making his return to Lavington Oval.
North Albury president Mark Cronin was not saying if the Hoppers received a settlement fee.
“All I will say is that North Albury and Lavington have reached an agreement,” Cronin said.
However the Hoppers are still standing firm with former assistant coach Matt McDonald and refusing to let him join Jindera.
That case looks set to head to the tribunal after negotiations between North Albury and Jindera failed to come to a resolution.
“Hopefully we will be able to resolve the situation in the near future,” Cronin said.
The Panthers host Eltham in a twilight practice match at Lavington Oval tomorrow.