Premiership hero Jonty Neaves won't play for Eaglehawk in 2019.
The athletic ruckman will complete pre-season training with Coburg in a bid to play in the VFL and will align himself with an Essendon District Football League club for next season.
"Jonty only just missed out on making the Coburg list last year and they've invited him back this year,'' new Eaglehawk coach Travis Matheson said.
"One of the steps for him is to make sure he's playing football under their eyes next year, so it's better for him to be playing in Melbourne.
"He'll align himself with an Essendon league club. Everyone at the club is supportive of Jonty in what he's trying to do with his footy.
"Maybe at the end of his VFL career he might come back and play some more footy with Eaglehawk.
"He leaves the club on good terms."
Neaves played a major role in the Borough's premiership win.
After dislocating his elbow in the second semi-final win over Strathfieldsaye, Neaves defied doctor's orders and played in the grand final where he produced a best on ground performance.
His departure leaves a big hole for the Hawks to fill.
"Replacing someone like Jonty is very hard considering his age and how much improvement he'd made,'' Matheson admitted.
"We've still got a lot of talent on the list and a lot improvement to come out of the list and we'll look to cover him anyway we can."
Matheson said Neaves was the only premiership player who hasn't committed to the Hawks for 2019.
The Borough's pre-season training program starts at Canterbury Park on Monday, November 26.
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