Yarrawonga recruit Jye Cross has revealed a stint with the club has been on his agenda since he was a youngster.
The Border town has long been a popular tourist destination, but it's experiencing a boom growth period, unlike a host of similar-sized inland areas across Australia.
"I used to go up to 'Yarra' a bit as a younger fella, it was always on my radar," Cross offered.
The 26-year-old has joined Fire Rescue Victoria and will spread his time between Wodonga, Wangaratta and Shepparton, so it would have been easy to have joined one of the four O and M clubs in either Wodonga or Wangaratta.
Yarrawonga signed two guns last week, with the other in former Eastern Football League goalkicking superstar Leigh Williams also pointing to his time holidaying in Yarrawonga as a youngster as a factor in his decision, as well as playing with current Pigeons' Willie Wheeler and Leigh Masters at Williamstown.
The attraction of the 'destination' town could play a major role in the Pigeons returning to finals after missing the past two seasons.
"I think every country club has to take something out of the amateurs (Victorian Amateur Football Association), they help the players find good employment and I think the whole country footy scene is now about providing good jobs and not just for the footballers, but their partners as well," club stalwart Chris Kennedy reasoned.
And Cross appreciates the club's mentality.
"With my footy, I've always preferred to play at family clubs you could call them, I played at Bannockburn (near Geelong) and then Leopold, that's very much family-community orientated and I've heard a lot of good things about 'Yarra', so it seemed the perfect fit to me," he suggested.
Cross's partner Millie Cooper is also considering playing netball for the Pigeons, adding to the 'family feel'.
The 193cm, 91kg defender spent three years on Geelong's VFL list, but never played a game at state level due to separate knee injuries, including an ACL.
"In 2015-16 I played eight games of footy, so I wanted to get back to playing club footy again to enjoy it, I'd lost a bit of love for the game there," he revealed.
"Since those two injuries though I've had no worries."
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