FORMER Bendigo Pioneers star Liam Byrne has signed with the Bendigo Gold.
The midfielder/half-back flanker will be aligned with South Bendigo in the BFNL.
Byrne made a big impression with South Bendigo's senior side as a 16-year-old before spending two seasons with the Pioneers in the TAC Cup.
"We're very happy to get Liam on board,'' Gold coach Aussie Jones said.
"He's impressed us greatly through the pre-season training and I'm confident he will have a very good season with us."
Byrne played two games with the Gold in the VFL in 2013 and did more than enough to ensure Jones wanted him back in 2014.
"He's a ready made VFL player,'' Jones said.
"He'll slot straight into our midfield group.
"Even though he's young, his body is big enough to handle it and he reads the play so well."
The Gold have now secured two of the Bendigo Pioneers best players from 2013 - Sam Heavyside and Byrne.
Jones said he hopes that trend continues.
"We want to nourish the pathway from the Pioneers through to the Gold,'' Jones said.
"Sam and Liam are two quality young men and we're very happy to have them graduate from the Pioneers and come to the Gold."
Byrne's first test with the Gold will be the club's first practice match against Footscray at the Epsom-Huntly Reserve on March 15. The Gold also play Collingwood in Melbourne on March 22 and Frankston in Bendigo on March 29.
The Gold's first home and away game is against Geelong on April 4.