The Albury-Wodonga Steamers have appointed Ryan O'Sullivan as first grade captain for the 2021 SIRU season.
O'Sullivan grew up in New Zealand and played alongside Steamers' coach James Kora at Canterbury University in Christchurch before he made the move to Australia.
He spent some time in Perth with University of Western Australia and University of Melbourne in the Victorian capital, before he returned to Christchurch.
The connection with Kora was a factor to draw him back to Australia and saw him arrive on the Border to play with the Steamers.
"It's great to get it (the captaincy). I'm looking forward to the season and getting the other half of the club back from the other side of the border," O'Sullivan said.
"It's a really good vibe around the club. There's a real family-friendly atmosphere and we're pretty well integrated with the women's team, which isn't a given with a lot of other clubs.
"We do everything as one big club, which is really good to see.
"What breeds playing well is people getting on as well as they can off the field."
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O'Sullivan admitted the 2020 season was a challenge for the club due to COVID-19 rules, but there were some benefits to the Steamers fielding a second grade side.
"We picked up a lot of players from other sports who enjoyed the atmosphere here and have stayed on," he said.
"The challenge will be bringing a new group together and bring back the established players who missed out last year.
"We will need to make that jump pretty quickly back into competing with the top sides in first grade as well."
The Steamers open the 2021 campaign against CSU at Wagga's Beres Ellwood Oval on Saturday.
"They had a first grade team last year, so they'll be pretty tough because they would have played together more than our group that will be turning up on Saturday," O'Sullivan said.
First grade kick-off is at 3.15pm.
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