Albury star Brayden O'Hara says teammate Jake Gaynor's persuasive powers were behind him committing to Wagga Tigers this season.
The four-time Albury and triple Central District premiership player described Gaynor as one of his best mates and couldn't knock back the opportunity to play in the Riverina league for the first time.
Former Wagga Tigers players and Albury midfielders Gaynor and Shaun Driscoll will also line-up for the reigning premier.
"Obviously Jakey living with me for three months had a lot to do it," O'Hara, 32, said.
"He said something six weeks ago about it if Albury got cancelled do you want to play with Wagga Tigers and it sounded pretty enticing.
"I get along well with little Jakey.
"He's like a little brother, my kids love him as well, so I wanted to come up and play footy with him up there, at his home club.
"I just thought I might as well play as I'm getting a bit older and haven't got too much footy left in me."
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O'Hara, who has played 100 matches for Albury since crossing from the SANFL, isn't underestimating the competition particularly with an influx of Ovens and Murray players.
"I knew a little bit about it when I was living in Adelaide," O'Hara said.
"I probably knew more about the Riverina league than the Ovens and Murray when I came to Albury because a couple of Ganmain boys in Sam Milne and Luke Habel were at Central District with me.
"They talked a fair bit about it and since then I've been keeping an eye on it."
O'Hara will train with the Riverina league heavyweight for the first time on Thursday night with the competition starting on July 18.
"It's going to be something different," he said.
"When you have been somewhere for seven years it just changes things up a little bit and I'm really looking forward to it.
"They have a lot of young guys and it might freshen me up."
Wagga Tigers president Anthony Lyons was thrilled to sign a player of O'Hara's calibre, as well as welcome back Gaynor and Driscoll.
"To get someone of Brayden's quality and class will benefit our local young fellas and they will learn a lot about football playing alongside him," Lyons said.
"I was resigned to never seeing Shaun again.
"I think he'll play SANFL, and could even as a 23, 24-year-old could get picked up by a (AFL) club.
"That's how good I rate him.
"And Jakey, I didn't think he would come back until he was 28, 29 or 30."
Former Wagga Tigers coach Shaun Campbell also returned to the club from Melbourne this week to play under Troy Maiden.