Blake Ferguson created plenty of excitement in Wellington this year and now Kurri Kurri is hoping for the same benefits after securing the former Australian star's signing.
It was confirmed earlier this month Ferguson would be leaving his hometown club to play in the Newcastle competition with the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs in 2024.
The man with 250 NRL appearances to his name was a huge hit during his season back at home and collected the club's most outstanding player award after finishing the Cowboys' top try-scorer and playing a key role in their progression to week two of the Peter McDonald Premiership finals.
Off the field Ferguson also created a real buzz around the community while his presence around club juniors was also highly valued.
Kurri Kurri coach Rip Taylor - who knows Ferguson from time coaching in the lower grades at the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta - is already feeling the much-needed excitement around his club after the Bulldogs collected back-to-back wooden spoons the past two seasons.
"He's a good get for the town. He's a marquee signing," Taylor told ACM.
"I've had a bit to do with 'Fergo'. He's a good bloke and will bring that to the town and the footy club.
"It lifts the competition and I like to think there will be a little bit of excitement around Kurri. I know 'Fergo' and he'll fit in no problems."
Taylor also said Ferguson's performances at Wellington this year proved he still had plenty to offer.
The outside back was a real handful for opposition defences every week in the PMP and his physicality, power and ability to haul in kicks was a real area of strength for the Cowboys.
Wellington coach Justin Toomey-White said last week he was disappointed to see the former NRL star leave the Cowboys but he was confident his side could build on the progress made this year.
Ferguson is expected to line up at fullback or on the wing in a Newcastle competition loaded with connections to the western area.
As well as signing Ferguson, Kurri Kurri recently announced the re-signing of former Western Rams representative Jesse Wighton.
Elsewhere, Dubbo junior and former Australian representative Andrew Ryan will remain coach of Souths next season after leading them to the grand final this year.
The man known as 'Bobcat' has turned this around with Souths and they finished the regular season in second before being beaten by bush footy powerhouse Maitland 46-10 in this year's decider.
Dubbo juniors Harry Van Dartel and Marshall Sing were both part of the Souths side on grand final day.
There was uncertainty around Ryan's position after it was confirmed he's returning to the Canterbury Bulldogs - the club he led to an NRL premiership in 2004 - in a cultural leadership role but Souths have confirmed he'll remain in red and white next season.
"He's still coaching us. He's fully committed to Souths and won't miss any games," Souths president Terry Davies said.
Halfback Bayden Searle, another Dubbo junior, will have a new home next season after swapping the Macquarie Scorpions for Wyong, who made the Newcastle finals this season.
Cessnock, which was beaten by Souths in the prelim, were led by halfback, captain-coach and Bathurst junior Harry Siejka this year.
Wellington junior Will Lousick, who signed for the Scorpions after helping Wellington to the 2019 Group 11 premiership could also return next season after missing virtually the entire past three seasons due to a knee injury and multiple surgeries.
Jordan Pope (Parkes), Campbell Woolnough (Forbes), Quincy Ross (Dubbo) and Tony Pellow (Dubbo) were just some of the other western stars to play first grade in Newcastle this season.
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