TALLANGATTA have lured premiership spearhead James Breen back to the club.
Breen's return is a massive boost to Tallangatta remaining a finals force, with the prolific goalkicker a key figure in the Hoppers most recent flag success in 2015.
Breen joined Henty in 2017 and broke his leg on the eve of the finals in his first year with the Swampies.
He had last season off to recover from the injury.
Tallangatta coach, Tyson Smith, played alongside Breen in the 2015 decider and was rapt to secure his services so late in the off-season.
Smith was assistant coach in 2015 but answered the Hoppers' SOS to coach after Sam Livingstone and the club parted company in December.
"Once I was appointed coach I contacted James about playing and he said he was really keen to assist in any capacity," Smith said.
"Because of his leg injury he didn't promise too much at the time.
"So he hasn't had a huge pre-season but played in our intra club matches and then played against Jindera on Friday night in a practice match and played really well.
"He is great with the kids and seeing that we will have a relatively young list he will make a massive difference in that regard as well.
"Having a two-pronged attack of Kaine Parsons alongside James will give us two strong marking targets and will prove really dangerous."
Breen kicked 90 goals for Tallangatta in 2014 and 65 the following year when the Hoppers stunned Kiewa-Sandy Creek in the decider.
"He's moving well after the leg injury and now he just has to work on his match fitness," Smith said.
"It's obviously a work in progress and something that we'll have to manage closely.
"But after having 12 months on the sidelines he is really keen to get back out there again.
"It's great to have him back at the club, being a premiership player and he fits in with the group so well."
The Hoppers made finals for the first time in two seasons last year before proving no match for Thurgoona in the first semi-final.
They have taken some big hits over the summer with Livingstone, Tom Johnson and Bob Russell among the biggest departures.
Russell won the Hoppers' best and fairest while Johnson finished third, with both returning to their former club Wodonga.
Livingstone has joined Osborne.
Smith said Tallangatta had plenty of emerging talent coming through the junior ranks after the thirds won the flag last season.
Jake Maddock has the potential to make the step-up to senior football after finishing runner-up in the league's thirds best and fairest last season.
Hamish O'Brien is also expected to be a regular in the seniors.
"We are aiming to finish in the five again," he said.
"Obviously Kiewa Sandy-Creek and Thurgoona are a fair way in front of everyone else.
"But between third and seventh looks fairly even and we will be somewhere around that mark."