Werribee has landed a major recruiting coup by luring Josh Porter back into the fold for season 2018.
The 196cm key forward has committed to a second stint at the club where he played 35 VFL games and kicked 38 goals from 2014 to 2016.
Porter, 23, said he was looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect with his old teammates while also meeting plenty of new ones as part of Werribee's first standalone VFL side in 19 years.
"It's great. Obviously, going standalone is quite exciting," he said.
"There are a few new faces around the club, so I'm excited to meet the boys, but there are a lot of old faces as well, so it's good to get back into it."
A product of both the Wangaratta Magpies and the Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup program, Porter returns to Avalon Airport Oval on the back of a whirlwind 2017 split between studying teaching at East Carolina University and chasing premiership success with his hometown club in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
He ultimately flew back from the US to line up for the Magpies in their historic grand final victory over Albury, playing a starring role alongside former Werribee teammate Ben Speight despite having missed most of the second half of the season.
It was while back in the US in December that he was contacted by Werribee coach John Lamont about the possibility of again donning the "big W", and Porter said the wealth of changes taking place at the club, which includes the major redevelopment of its training and administration facility, made it too good an opportunity to pass up.
"I thought I'd come back and do a few training sessions to see how my body went, and I came back and saw the feel around the place was really positive," he said.
"Being standalone and having that brand-new facility topped it off, so it was a pretty easy decision to come back in the end."
Lamont said it was an enormous boost for Werribee to have Porter back given his experience and character and that it was pleasing the power forward was eager to again test himself at the VFL level.
"It's a great thing, players returning to your club, and the blokes are excited because they realise the type of player that Josh is and what he's going to bring to the club," Lamont said.
"He's got strong working relationships, he's a popular bloke, and 196cm key forwards who are competitive don't actually grow on trees."
"When I first connected with him, he was trekking through Africa, so he's always got out of his comfort zone.
"He's happy to continue to play the best footy he can, so we're rapt that he's returned."
Lamont said Porter could prove to be the final piece of the puzzle that is Werribee's new-look forward line by providing a crucial focal point in front of goal.
"He might have got the second or third defender previously depending on the North Melbourne players we had, so it will be a little bit different for him in that he'll be more of the main man in our forward-line setup," Lamont said.
"We've then got guys like Josh Corbett, Kye Declase, and Brad Xavier who can rotate through, and we've also got the resting ruck types, so we think from a structure viewpoint, we can be a lot more potent with Josh up there."
WERRIBEE PLAYERS OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED FOR 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)