NICO Sedgwick says an opportunity to play alongside some long-time mates was instrumental in him signing with East Wagga-Kooringal.
Several of Sedgwick's high-profile teammates including coach Simon Curtis, Nick Meredith and Aidan Johnson have signed with Ainslie in the wake of the Ovens and Murray season being abandoned.
Sedgwick said he had been inundated with phone calls over the weekend with the speedy midfielder high on the recruiting radar of most Riverina and Farrer league clubs.
"I have a couple of mates in Kyle North-Flanagan and Nick Ryan at the club who I do a bit of hunting and fishing with," Sedgwick said.
"Their coach Matt Hard gave me a call and he seemed a really genuine bloke and a good club to play for.
"Matt said they were only going to target one or two recruits.
"I had about eight other clubs ring me but they are all trying to recruit a stack of players
"So I thought I would sign with East Wagga-Kooringal."
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Sedgwick said the prospect of sitting out the season didn't appeal to him.
"I'm really motivated to play to be honest," he said.
"It's not a really good time of the year to go hunting or fishing so I'm looking forward to playing.
"A lot of the Lavington boys are heading to Canberra to play but that didn't really appeal to me.
"Simon (Curtis) asked if I was interested but I'd rather play with my mates and Kyle and Nick have wanted me to play alongside them for a while now.
"I actually played state football with them when I was about 12-years old.
"We were only kids back then and have kept in contact ever since and always talked about playing alongside each other.
"So this is the year I guess."
East Wagga-Kooringal lost the decider last year against North Wagga Saints by 20-points.
The Hawks look set to remain a serious contender this season with Wagga Tigers premiership captain Nick Ryan joining the club over the summer.
Hard said Sedgwick's pace and fearless attack on the ball would add another dimension to the midfield.
"I'm very happy to pick up a quality person and quality player for 2020," Hard said.
"He'll add a bit of everything. Obviously a bit of pace, he's a smart footballer, he wins his own ball, which is good. He'll be a great addition to our midfield."
Hard saw first-hand how damaging Sedgwick can be in full-flight after he coached the Farrer league against the Hume league last season.
Sedgwick claimed best-on-ground honours in the Hume leagues thrilling one-point victory.
He returned to Lavington this season after six seasons with Brock-Burrum and three flags with the Saints.