East Albury recruit Will McIntosh will continue the trend of combining provincial level with senior Ovens and Murray football.
The 22-year-old returned home this year after completing a three-year science degree at Melbourne University.
He played in last month’s losing Albury grand final team against Wangaratta in the O and M and now returns to his junior cricket club, where he represented the ACT in the under 19 national titles in 2013-14.
Lavington duo Sam Harris and Matt Sharp have combined the region’s two biggest sports of the winter and summer seasons respectively, with McIntosh quizzed on which is his strongest.
“Probably cricket, cricket’s always been my number one,” he said.
“But in recent times my football’s played a bigger role and becoming a bigger commitment for me.
“It makes it harder before Christmas to do anything in regards to football but, after that, you just have to manage both and keep on top of that.”
McIntosh also started a three-year physiotherapy degree at Charles Sturt University this year, so those time management skills are well advanced.
The top order batsman averaged around 50 in Melbourne Uni’s thirds last season and around half that in the seconds.
He faced Victorian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed in the nets at uni training, as well as paceman Steve Reid, who bowls around the 140-kilometre mark.
“Playing at a more professional and higher standard just improves your cricket,” McIntosh said.
“We didn’t see Fawad much because of his Victorian commitments but, when he was there, he was a class above obviously.”
When McIntosh was last home he finished 27th on the run-scorer’s list with 341 at 31, with a top score of 129 not out.
But given his time at the higher level, he could well rocket into the top five.
“He looks really good and he’s improved quite a bit from when he left a couple of years ago,” coach Dylan Weeding said of his star recruit.