Ballarat City will be without best and fairest winner Charlie King and brother David for next season's National Premier League two west season.
Charlie, last year's co-captain, took out the players’ award and the coaches award at City's presentation night last month - highlighting the midfielder’s importance.
While David was a valuable member of City’s squad, playing 26 matches and kicking four goals last season.
The brothers are originally from Tunisia, having come to Warrnambool and then made their way to Ballarat as teenagers for schooling.
The draw to return home and help out with the family business is something that has always been a possibility and David said following a family member going in for surgery, that the need for the boys to go home and support the family became a more pressing matter.
“It’s something that we’ve discussed on and off for a long time though, it’s not really out of the blue, it’s just been a matter of when,” David King told The Courier.
“With the turn of events we didn’t have too much choice...we’re both looking forward to it.”
David said Ballarat City had been a huge part of his life and was a big reason for him moving to Ballarat. While there was no set return date, David said they may well come back in the near future.
“I’ve been involved with the club since I was 18, it’s one of the main reasons I moved to Ballarat.”
City coach Danny Gnjidic said the departure of the talented duo would hurt, but understood it was something they had to do.
Gnjidic said the club would look to fill the void left by the King boys through recruitment over the off-season, placing a quality defensive player and an attacking midfielder at the top of City’s wish list.
In more list news, Gnjidic said there was a chance some of the younger players could move to Melbourne for study.
Meanwhile, Liam Harding will act as a “ready-made” recruit as he prepares for a full pre-season after recovering from a broken leg.
Gnjidic said while it was disappointing the club could lose a couple of players, he acknowledged that they would be for “life reasons” rather than deciding to play elsewhere.
“I guess the positive we can take out of it is that it is for non-football reasons, they’re leaving for life-based reasons – we can’t control that,” Gnjidic said.
The club is in “ongoing” discussion with 2017 English recruit Courtney Austin in the hope the striker may return next season.
Ballarat City will get its pre-season under way on November 20.