Barton medallist Lee Dale has departed Yackandandah after one season.
The dreadlock midfielder flew in from the Gold Coast each week to play for the Roos and managed 12-matches after heading overseas mid-season.
Dale produced his best match of the season in the qualifying final against Beechworth as the Roos enjoyed their first finals victory since 2010.
Roos skipper, Ben McIntosh, said it came as no surprise that Dale wouldn't be returning next year with the travel from the Gold Coast a massive commitment.
"I think the travelling got to Lee in the end which is understandable but it was still a huge effort by him this season and well worth the effort," McIntosh said.
"Lee has settled at the Gold Coast with his partner and just bought a house so travelling another season wasn't really an option.
"It would have to take a toll on you travelling that far on most Fridays to play the following day and then fly home."
Dale won the Barton medal with Yackandandah in 2017 before joining Southport and also had a stint with Mitiamo in 2021-22 before committing to the Roos again this season.
While not as dominant as his Barton medal winning season, Dale was a more than handy addition with the opposition wary of his ability to influence matches.
"Lee is probably his own harshest critic and thought he could have had a bigger impact," McIntosh said.
"But I thought he was a handy addition for us and just having him out there he commands the attention of the opposition and that helps a few of his teammates to fly under the radar.
"Obviously with his reputation and being a Barton medallist the opposition used to put a fair bit of homework into trying to nullify him.
"The thing about Lee, he doesn't need a lot of touches to hurt the opposition and is one of those players that makes the most of his possessions.
"I think he proved that in that first final against Beechworth where he was clearly best on ground.
"He also went overseas midseason for six or seven weeks, so to come back after that and perform how he did, just highlights how classy a player Lee is."
McIntosh conceded Dale would be a loss but said the Roos didn't rely on any individual to win on a weekly basis.
"I think Lee ended up playing 12-matches and nine during the home and away season, so we proved we could win without him," he said.
"We would rather have him than not have him but we didn't rely heavily on Lee to win matches."
The Roos have added further depth to their already highly-rated defence after signing Jordan Eaton from Beechworth.
Eaton was the Bushrangers best against Yackandandah in the opening week of the finals after keeping key forward Nick Donaghey relatively quiet.
"Jordy has got a few mates at Yackandandah that he wanted to play with," McIntosh said.
"He seems like a quality bloke and player and did a good job against Nick in that qualifying final.
"Nick kicked five goals but got four goals in the last-quarter after Jordy got a corkie and had to go off the ground.
"I rate him as one of the best young defenders in the competition because he is only 21."
The Roos are set to commence pre-season training next week.
IN THE NEWS:
- Two long-sought road fixes get the flick from feds
- Camp out at new Border burger restaurant to win a year of free food
- Five hurt in two-car smash outside hotel
- Exploring the positives and negatives of North East battery bid
- He started the year chasing a 'hoops' career, then he chased the best kid
- Familiar face returns to lead Saints in A-grade coaching debut
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: