Two recruits from strong rugby league backgrounds will look to transform the Albury-Wodonga Steamers back line this year.
Former Albury Thunder player Zak Tipene and Tully MacPherson-Peacock, a junior product from NRL club Penrith, have committed to the Steamers for the 2021 Southern Inland Rugby Union season.
Tipene played a handful of games in the Steamers' second grade side last year after the Albury Thunder was forced to withdraw from the Group 9 season due to COVID-19 restrictions around travel.
A strong relationship with Steamers' coach James Kora lured Tipene back to Murrayfield, for what will be his first full season of rugby union.
"I was up and down on where to play," Tipene said.
"Because we lost the grand final last year, I was keen to come back and try again.
"'House' (Kora) has been trying to get me across for a while.
"He asked if I was going to stay on and I told him if he's coaching I would.
"I was up and down with the first grade at the Thunder and I moved to Mackay and came back, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
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Tipene believed there had always been an 'us against them' mentality between the Thunder and Steamers on the Border.
"It was a you don't like them they don't like you kind of thing, but once I got here, it was a really family-orientated club and they made me feel part of it," Tipene said.
"Growing up, it's always been league against union and Thunder against Steamers."
MacPherson-Peacock moved to the region from Sydney to teach at Corowa High School and will add some quality experience to the Steamers.
The 24-year-old played reserve grade in Sydney's Shute Shield competition last year for Western Sydney Two Blues and boasts an impressive resume.
MacPherson-Peacock had a season in the Harold Mathews Cup under-16s competition with Penrith, played in the NSW Combined High Schools rugby union side, spent a year in the NSW rugby sevens squad and also made the Australian university team for sevens.
"I was going to play rugby or some kind of footy when I came down, so I found the club and came down for a run," he said.
"I've got a little bit of experience and knowledge of the game, but I'm just happy to play and be around the club."
His first goal is to build up his fitness after shin splints halted is 2020 season, which followed a second knee reconstruction that ruled him out in 2019.
"I did it when I was 15 as well, so if I do it again, I won't play again," MacPherson-Peacock said.
The Steamers have started to train twice a week at Waites Park with at least 40 players at each session.