High-profile Holbrook recruit Andrew Dess has returned to former club Belconnen.
Dess, who is based in Canberra, recently told Brooker officials of his plans after making the weekly trek from the nation's capital last year.
In a further blow to Holbrook's premiership aspirations, his brother, Brendan, has also departed after travelling from Melbourne.
Dess said it was a tough decision with the Brookers widely touted as a genuine flag contender this year after landing prized recruits Luke Gestier and John Mitchell alongside developing key position player Logan Hamilton.
"I would have loved to have remained at Holbrook," Dess said.
"But just with the travel and increasing work and family commitments I have decided to stay in Canberra.
"I was bitterly disappointed that we didn't get to play this season.
"Holbrook boasts a talented young list and won the thirds flag last year as well.
"Then to recruit Gestier and Mitchell there was a genuine sense of excitement within the group on what we could have achieved this season.
"But obviously COVID-19 put a stop to that and now we will never know."
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The Dess brothers joined Holbrook last year after having previously played alongside Brookers coach Matt Sharp at Belconnen.
Andrew also had a stint at Lavington Sportsground and kicked 105 goals in a 94-match career with the Panthers.
The strong marking forward was regarded among the premier forwards in the Hume league but was often forced to shoulder the ruck duties with the Brookers lacking a recognised ruckman.
Gestier shapes as a more than handy replacement after showing glimpses of his best form for Wagga Tigers in the shortened Riverina league season.
The Brookers also recently signed North Albury duo Justin Bishop and Cal Langlands to add further depth.