Talented Wagga Tigers teenager Jake Gaynor will play for Albury next year.
The dynamic midfielder started pre-season training with the Ovens and Murray club on Tuesday night and could be joined by two-time league leading goalkicker John Buchanan.
Buchanan is related to former Albury premiership coach Michael Buchanan.
Gaynor is one of AFL Riverina’s most promising talents and was a member of the Giants Academy, playing a number of games for Greater Western Sydney’s NEAFL team this year.
Gaynor also played in Tigers’ senior premiership last year.
“I thought I would change things up a bit. It’s a new challenge and a new environment,” Gaynor, 18, said.
“I’m only young once so I thought I might as well have a crack at it.”
It will be a change of scenery for Gaynor, who has been at Robertson Oval since starting as a junior.
It will also be a huge commitment as Gaynor will travel from Wagga to train and play with Albury.
He said it was a difficult decision to leave his home club.
“It was pretty tough because I’ve been there for ages and won a flag,” Gaynor said.
“Not making finals this year was tough to take but they have wished me all the best.”
A number of clubs from near and far chased the services of Gaynor.
He chose Albury Tigers after having been impressed by the club when watching elder cousin Josh Gaynor in action at the club years ago.
“My cousin (Josh) played there a couple of years ago so I’ve had a bit of family there,” Gaynor said.
“I used to go over and watch them play a fair bit when he was there and liked them.
“It should be good.”
Gaynor will join Wagga Tigers premiership teammate Brady Morton at Albury Tigers.
Gaynor is the fourth Wagga Tigers player to leave for the Ovens and Murray in the past 12 months, following Morton, Shaun Flanigan (Wodonga) and Jackson Kelly (Wodonga Raiders).
Buchanan could potentially join that list after training with Albury this week.
He is yet to make a decision on his plans for 2018 but is in talks with a couple of Ovens and Murray clubs, as well as Wagga Tigers.
Buchanan has kicked 191 goals over the past three seasons at Tigers.
Meanwhile, Henty youngster Nick Murray has signed with Wodonga Raiders.
Murray, who will play for the Murray Bushrangers, has followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Sam, who made an impact at Birallee Park before being drafted by Sydney Swans and Collingwood.