Living in Mudgee, it was inevitable hard-working fullback Jayden Brown would end up back in the red and white.
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And in 2023 that's exactly where he'll be after signing on with the Mudgee Dragons for the second installment of the Peter McDonald Premiership.
Having grown up at Canowindra, 2022 was a homecoming for Brown in Woodbridge Cup and the run metre machine almost delivered a grand final appearance for the Tigers. However, it wasn't to be.
But now Brown is back in the top flight, ready to take Mudgee to the next level and take kilometres off his vehicle after the travel involved last year.
"It was sort of always in the plans ... the kids and family (I was) not watching them play sport, I was travelling to Canowindra on Friday and getting home Sunday night," he said.
"Plus Mudgee has a fairly decent side again this year so when they asked me I was definitely straight on board."
Brown added the step up from Woodbridge to the Peter McDonald Premiership is one he's looking forward to.
"Yeah definitely, this year Woodbridge was pretty competitive but with this new competition (PMP) I think it'll be a lot more serious and a bit more quicker," he said.
The utility back also confirmed it's likely he'll be fullback for Mudgee this season too.
When playing for the red and whites in 2019, Brown was a Mr Fix It for the squad before landing in the No.1 for the grand final.
In that decider, the Dragons suffered heartbreak.
A one-point, extra-time loss to Bathurst Panthers was devastating for the Dragons faithful before two years of COVID ruined the club's chances of redemption in Group 10.
Brown agreed the disappointment of that grand final - one he compared to Canowindra's semi-final loss against Manildra - was another motivating factor in his return.
"It's pretty much all the same team, with a few new boys there - it's another reason I want to play again," he said.
"A few older boys at Mudgee might look at moving on next year so the time frame this year will be the one to go (and win a premiership)."
Brown's return is perfect timing for an assault on the competition with the club in a serious sweet spot after finishing as minor-premiers in the Group 10 pool last year.
However, suspensions didn't help the Dragons in its PMP final series, suffering a disappointing 34-4 loss to Dubbo CYMS in the preliminary final.
The new signing said the talk in pre-season around the club has been about rectifying that result and going all the way.
"Yeah definitely (the goal is to win), they were minor-premiers in Group 10 then got touched up in the semi-final, they thought they had the team (to win) but it just wasn't their day," Brown said.
Brown is likely to be joined in the first grade team's spine by Pacey Stockton (halfback), Jack Littlejohn (five-eighth) and Jack Beasley (hooker) who have all re-signed with the club.
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