Oxley Vale Attunga got a bit of a two-for-one deal in landing former National Premier League player James Kitcher.
Not only did they they get a gun striker, but as a flow-on they also picked up fellow Novocastrian Riley Russell.
Russell said knowing Kitcher was playing there sweetened the deal when Mushies coach Tim Coates reached out to him after learning he was living in Tamworth.
While the two had never played together they were from the same area in Newcastle and "knew each other from around".
"As soon as I knew he was here I was pretty keen to come out for a kick," Russell said.
The two will be a potent addition to the defending Premier Division champions at either end of the field with Russell slotting into the back line.
The 24-year old moved up to Tamworth late last year with his partner, who grew up on a property in between Barraba and Bingara and wanted to be closer to her family.
He brings the experience of playing with Valentine in the Northern NSW NPL for the past four or so seasons.
Soccer has pretty much been his sport "since he was a little fella" although he has dabbled in a bit of league over the years.
But he has always found his way back to soccer.
"I liked playing rugby league but I always got drawn back to soccer," he said.
Asked what is was specifically about soccer he loved, Russell said: "it's just a different sport".
On Saturday he was one of the Mushies' best as they kicked off their 2021 campaign with a 3-2 win over South United. Kitcher also played a prominent role in the victory, scoring their third goal.
He likewise relocated to the area at the end of last year after getting a job as a trainee train driver.
Transporting grain mostly, it sees him continuing a bit of a family tradition.
"My grandfather did it, and my father worked on the railways as well," he said.
Like Russell, his soccer journey started at an early age and has also included time in the NPL.
Most recently he pulled on the boots for Hamilton-Azzuri in the Newcastle Zone Football League.
A couple of divisions below the NPL, he wanted to have a bit of fun playing with some mates.
His work commitments also meant he would have to miss training and games.
He was put onto the Mushies by his house mate.
"My house mate knew one of the boys here (Mushies) and I messaged him saying I want to come for a kick and then Timmy (Coates) got a hold of me and said come down and have a run," he said.
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