SOUTH Bendigo Football Club has received a double blow with the departure of this year's best and fairest and leading goalkicker.
Skipper Brady Childs and full-forward Justin Maddern have signed with Goulburn Valley Football League club Shepparton Swans as the exodus of star players from the Bendigo Football League continues.
Childs, who has been skipper of South Bendigo for the past three seasons and this year won his first club best and fairest, said he was looking forward to the fresh challenge of playing in the GVFL.
"I've been at South for a long time and something I've always wanted to do is play Goulburn Valley footy and challenge myself over there," Childs said on Wednesday.
"At my age, it's probably now or never.
"It's nothing against South Bendigo. I love the club and will be back at some stage, but the timing feels right and my young family will probably travel a bit better now than they would have previously.
"And as someone who has aspirations to coach, to be able to experience a new league and a new club should be beneficial."
Maddern was this year's Ron Best medallist as the BFL's leading goalkicker. He kicked 67goals for the Bloods in 2013.
Maddern said his decision was based purely on family reasons.
"It has been a couple of years coming. It's the home club of my partner Brianna with her netball, plus her brother plays there and her dad is on the committee," Maddern said.
"They've been trying to get us back over there for the past few years, but it hasn't fit until now.
"But having a newborn, Brianna wants to get back over to Shepparton a bit more to see her family, so that's the main reason.
"It's something we need to do as a family and we're really looking forward to it."
Both Childs and Maddern were members of this year's BFL inter-league team.
The Shepparton Swans were beaten in the GVFL preliminary final last month.