DAVID Miles will return to home club Howlong as playing-coach next season after 15 years in the Ovens and Murray.
The North Albury skipper told Hopper teammates of his intentions this week with the 32-year-old admitting it was "an extremely tough decision".
"Coaching has always been a desire of mine and I see getting back to Howlong as an exciting opportunity," Miles said.
"A know a lot of the people and committee down there after playing juniors at the club and Mum and Dad live in the town.
"It's going to be hard leaving North Albury though, harder than I thought, as the club has been a big part of shaping who I am. "I've got a lot of memories and friendships I will cherish.
"It was really difficult telling the club but at the same time I'm excited about what's ahead."
Miles, who won North Albury's best and fairest last season and has played 120 matches for the Hoppers, takes over from Beau Packer who had two seasons at the helm.
Packer is yet to announce his plans for next year.
After an injury-plagued start to his career at Bunton Park, Miles has only missed one game in the past three years which was for the birth of his son, Judd.
It is believed at least two other Hume league clubs spoke to Miles.
Miles played under-14s and 17s for Howlong before leaving the Spiders to play third grade for North Albury.
"I wasn't big or strong at all as a junior and the way I played probably didn't suit playing seconds or seniors for Howlong at that stage," he said.
It was difficult telling the club but at the same time I'm excited about what's aheadDavid Miles
"Dad encouraged me to have a run around at North Albury thirds with some young blokes I knew."
Howlong is the first Hume league club to appoint a new coach for next season.