Premiers Wangaratta has now lost around a quarter of its grand final side with confirmation Brad Melville will play cricket in England.
The dangerous forward will join Otley Cricket Club, in West Yorkshire.
“Obviously we had such a great season last year and not being able to run around with the boys again will be a bit hard,” he said.
Wangaratta caused one of the modern day upsets by ending Albury’s three-year premiership reign.
And the 19-year old is a throwback to the ‘old days’, where a talented sportsperson could play a high level in two or more sports.
It’s extremely rare now to find someone who plays Victorian Premier Cricket and senior Ovens and Murray football.
“I think (I’m better at) cricket, I think in football last year, in the finals, I probably struggled a bit,” Melville said.
“I just think I’ve always had that passion a bit more for cricket, playing at a pretty high standard (Melbourne) and still have that will to try and improve and get better.
“Premier League tests you a bit more as a person individually and puts the onus on you a bit more to work a lot harder, instead of leaving it up to other people, like you probably can in football a bit more.”
Melville joins siblings Judd and Daine Porter (retirement), forward Tom Whittlesea (South Australia) and Nick Richards (Williamstown) as the Pies’ departures.
However, the signing of ex-Norwood and Sturt midfielder Craig Evans, along with siblings Jamie and Mark Anderson, means the Pies will still be favoured for a top-three finish.
I’ve always had that passion a bit more for cricket ... and still have that will to try and improve.Brad Melville
Melville’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean his football career is over.
But he’s certainly making an impact at cricket’s elite level, hitting three half-centuries at the recent national under 19 championships.