WHEN Elliot Bowen first decided to move with his young family from Echuca to Tamworth, football was far from his mind.
The 36-year-old had done nearly everything there was to do in Victorian bush footy.
He had cracked the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup list, tried out for the Sydney Swans, played in the VFL for the Bendigo Diggers and Bombers, before settling in to a storied career with Rochester in the Goulburn Valley Football League.
However, when he discovered football was growing in his new hometown, the itch for competition returned and so he joined the Tamworth Kangaroos.
"I essentially wanted to play to meet people and have a bit of an outlet from work," Bowen told the Leader.
"Joining the Roos has been great for that. I've met a lot of new people while playing, it's a family day out for my wife Rebecca and my three-year-old son Sebastian, and it's probably added another year or two to my career that I probably wouldn't have got back home."
Moving to become the new branch manager of Tamworth's Insurance House, Bowen said he had settled into his new home.
"I really do like it here in Tamworth because it has a lot of similarities to Echuca," he said.
"The climate is very similar and Tamworth is a really sporty town, which I love".
A life member with Rochester, Bowen notched up several accomplishments during his tenure with the club, including captaining the first grade side.
"I had a lot of great times at Rochy [Rochester], but I would have to say the premiership I won there is right up there as a favourite memory," he said.
"In my time there I captained the club, played over 200 games, became a life member of both the club and the league, but the premiership is still my favourite memory.
"It's my only senior premiership, we only won by two points and I kicked seven, four of them in the last, so it's pretty special."
Having kicked 37 goals in six games for the Roos so far this season, Bowen said he would be keen to help grow the game in the region.
"I'm always happy to help out in any way I can," he said.
"At the moment for me, that is just doing my job and kicking a few goals, but if anyone ever wants to ask me something, I'm always willing to help."