One of the biggest names in the Central Highlands Football League is switching to a rival in the competition.
James Lukich is moving from cellar dweller Waubra to expected 2024 premiership contender Bungaree.
The signing of Lukich is a massive coup for the Demons, which last season rocketed into the finals and reached a preliminary final.
Bungaree coach Ryan Waight believes the arrival of Lukich has the potential to give the Demons the extra edge they need to take the next step.
In contrast, the loss of Lukich is a massive setback for Waubra.
Roos coach Trav Ford said it was extremely disappointing to be losing a player of Lukich's ability, leadership and stature in the CHFL. "He's a great player and a good bloke. He'll be missed."
Lukich, who was an assistant to Ford last season, joined Waubra in 2017 and was part of its 2019 premiership team.
He played with East Point in the shortened 2021 Ballarat Football League season after the year off owing COVID-19 and returned to Waubra in 2022 when the Roos reached the finals.
Waight, who is preparing for his fifth season in charge at Bungaree, said the Demons had during his tenure been working hard to attract good people.
He said Lukich had all the qualities they were looking for.
"He's a great player, a successful player, a premiership player.
"At his best, and we believe we can get the best out of him, he's one of the best in the competition."
Waight said he had initially reached out to Lukich after hearing a "whisper" that he might worth having a conversation with and one thing led to another.
He said having some East Point connections at the Demons and also the refurbishment of the playing surface at the Bungaree Recreation Reserve had played a part in getting Lukich across the line.
Waight said he would almost certainly use Lukich both as a forward and ruckman.
Lukich played his junior and early senior football with the Ballarat Swans in the BFNL.
While with Ballarat that he also played a handful of games with Bendigo in the VFL in 2014
Lukich returned to VFL with North Ballarat in 2016 and debuted with the Roosters in their last year in 2017.
He had St Joseph's in Geelong as his home club in 2016 and then linked up with Waubra the next season.
He went full-time with the Roos in 2018.